Operating Room Nursing

Operating room nursing involves playing key roles in an operating room setting, like assisting during surgical procedures as a scrub nurse, assisting a surgeon with surgical procedures as an RN first assistant, or acting as a circulating nurse, coordinating the team of nurses, surgeons, technicians, and anesthetists who are involved in surgery.

An operating room nurse, sometimes referred to as a perioperative nurse, is a registered nurse who must have good professional judgment and critical thinking skills, because they are often relied upon for exactly those skills. They work closely with the surgical patient, family members, and other health care professionals to help plan, implement, and evaluate treatment of the patient.

While in the operating room, an OR nurse may act as a scrub nurse, where he/she selects and handle instruments and supplies that are used for the operation; a circulating nurse, where he/she will manage all nursing care in the operating room and help to maintain a comfortable and safe environment; or an RN first assistant, where he/she would deliver direct surgical care by assisting the surgeon with controlling bleeding, providing exposure to a wound, or doing sutures during the actual surgical procedure. An operating nurse may also work as an operating room director, which includes managing the budgets, controlling staffing, and taking care of other business aspects of the operating room.

Operating room nurses work in surgical departments in hospitals, in day surgery units that are also called ambulatory surgery, clinics, or physician’s offices. Nurses are in high demand due to the aging population and rising costs of health care, and the majority of medical facilities have programs where you can attain the necessary experience to get started in the operating room nursing field.

Some people in operating room nursing will go on to a career in business as a management consultant, a researcher, clinical educator, or medical sales professional. Some OR nurses choose to advance their training and education so they can move on to pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist.

If you want to start a career in OR nursing, you need a nursing degree. Consider an online LPN to BSN degree or an online RN to BSN degree if you’re already a nurse. Otherwise, compare these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
» Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

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