An operating room nurse is also known as an OR nurse or a Perioperative Nurse. Perioperative has to do with the care of patients before, during and after surgery, which is different than a surgical technologist. If you’ve ever watched one of those medical television shows you’ve seen many scenes where nurses are in the operating room assisting the surgeon as well as caring for the well being of the patient.
Operating Room Nurse Duties
He or she is an RN ( Registered Nurse) and works in a hospital surgical department, clinics, physicians offices, and day-surgical centers. The role of an operating room nurse can be divided into three different subcategories if you will.
- Circulating nurse ensures the comfort and safety of the patient in the operating room. He or she monitors the entire procedure. This position also requires that a sterile environment is maintained. Additional duties include filling out the appropriate paperwork and preparing the operating room prior to surgery
- Scrub nurse is in charge of making sure the proper instruments are prepared and ready for the surgical procedure. The term “scrub nurse” has to do with the fact that he or she uses special soaps and is cleaned and scrubbed which will allow them to be within the “sterile operating” area close to the surgeon and patient.
- RN First Assistant will handle surgical instruments and hand them directly to the surgeon. In addition to this, he or she will also assist the surgeon with various operating room procedures including taking care of a wound, controlling bleeding and other procedure as directed by the surgeon.
Operating Room Nurse Working Environment
An operating room nurse works very long hours and needs to be in good physical shape to transport patients back and forth for treatments. Hospital environments can be quite hectic. The ability to multitask and communicate clearly and effectively are major pluses for this position. He or she will also interact with patients constantly as well as with family members facing difficult situations. Will be involved in the day to day treatment of patients working closing with physicians. Leadership skills and the ability to work within a team setting is extremely important. The ability to act and make good decisions quickly while under pressure is required.
Operating Room Nursing Jobs and Outlook
The American population continues to grow and we’re living longer. This means a lot more people in need of quality health care. The demand for skilled OR nurses should continue, however, there is a possibility of increased competition from First Surgical Assistants whose roles often mirror that of OR nurses. Just something to keep in mind.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary for OR nurses employed by general medical and surgical hospitals was just over $68,000 per year. Salaries will be higher or lower depending on where you work, location as far as city and state and experience.
Operating Room Nurses Education Requirements
A Bachelor of Nursing degree is generally required and recommended. The majority of hospitals and other medical facilities have programs available in-house to provide you with the necessary skills you will need. Also, experience in the emergency room and or critical care are both excellent training to prepare you for a position as an operating room nurse.