A fast moving field, perioperative nursing requires a skilled, knowledgeable registered nurse that knows the fundamental nursing values and has an ever-present quality of care that surgical patients can rely on. A perioperative nurse cares for patients prior to, during, and after surgery. Once the forgotten nurses behind the operating room doors, perioperative nursing is starting to make a name for itself in the medical field.
A perioperative nurse often works as a circulating registered nurse in the operating room, performing sponge, sharps, and instrument counts to keep up with policies, and sees that patients are safely transferred to and from the operating room bed, making sure that side rails and safety straps are in place correctly. This also involves verifying patient information like the surgical record, allergies, and history; making sure that patients are positioned properly in operating room equipment; keeping the patient’s skin integrity high and clothing and bedding clean; applying appropriate dressings after operative procedures; and maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room.
Perioperative nursing is all about implementing nursing actions that ensure and maintain a safe environment for every patient. Perioperative nurses use operating room equipment like electrosurgical equipment, and they know where to place the electrosurgical equipment (ESU) pad and sequential compression device (SCD).
This job isn’t something just anyone technologically inclined can do, however. It takes a skill and knowledge to be able to troubleshoot problems with operating room equipment, like microscopes, video equipment, IV pumps, light sources, phaceoemulsification machines, dermatomes, and more. Any problems must be corrected immediately so that the malfunctioning equipment returns to functioning normally. Perioperative nursing also involves checking surgical lights, operating room tables, accessories and furniture, oxygen and nitrous oxide lines, suction systems, blood warmers, arterial lines, drills, nitrogen tanks, equipment batteries, pulse lavage system, cement system, and emergency cardiac equipment for availability and function.
If you want to start a career in perioperative 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)