SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Anna Sturgeon is this year’s recipient of the prestigious award for “Best Suture Scissor-Cutting Technique.” She narrowly beat another top promising candidate on the merit of holding her scissor 89 degrees perpendicular to the suture, as opposed to her contender’s shaking 78 degrees.
Sturgeon, understandably overwhelmed, took the time away from signing autographs for pre-meds to speak to us. “I really felt like I was on my game during that day. I spent the whole surgery standing very quietly and still with those scissors in my hand from the moment my resident made the first cut. They told me it was a hazard, and to give the scissors back to the scrub nurse, but they just don’t understand how much pressure it is. I needed to mentally prep myself and go over the technique in my head a million times. Lucky for me, it was an 18-hour sugarbaker, so I actually could go over it a million times.”
Sturgeon smiled, her eyes distant, recalling the surgery. “When the moment finally came, and my resident said “Cut!” and pointed to the 2.0 vicryl, I knew my moment had come. It’s like the time had stopped still. I could feel a bead of sweat rolling down my back. With trembling hands, I inched closer and closer, grasping those scissors with both hands. And… then it happened. Snip. I had done it. And I had done it well.”
Her staff was impressed. Dr. Peterson praised her medical student, saying, “You know, it really was a high-pressure situation. There are so many ways it could go wrong. You put a pair of scissors into a fresh med student’s hand, you never know what they can do. I’ve had an overzealous one cut my suture leaving an 8 cm tail! Can you even imagine? It delayed our OR by 2 hours! The nurses went into overtime and were feeling murderous, let me tell you.”
Sturgeon, at her awards ceremony, upon receiving the trophy, gave a speech. “As a medical student you feel like you don’t have much of a place in the OR. You are constantly in the scrub nurse’s way, or contaminating the field. But I want to tell you all,” Anna continued passionately, her voice wavering with emotion, “medical students do have a crucial role in the operating room. We’re not just meant to stand still for hours until we have a vasovagal episode. We can use our scissors and cut some sutures! And we can do it well. Our role in patient care could never be more paramount.”
Sturgeon thanked her parents for always supporting her dream to be a surgeon, and her kindergarten teacher for influencing her proper scissor-holding technique.