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What is an OR Nurse?

Description: RNs in this field provide care and support to patients before (preoperative teaching and review of records and tests), during (circulator or scrub nurse), and after surgery (recovery room monitoring and discharge teaching). These nurses are responsible for delivering and coordinating patient care throughout the process.

Job Outlook: In the operating room, there are several roles for the RN including:

  • Scrub nurse - selecting and handling instruments and supplies used for the operation.
  • Circulating nurse - managing the overall nursing care in the operating room and helping to maintain a safe, comfortable environment.
  • RN first assistant - delivering direct surgical care by assisting the surgeon in controlling bleeding, providing wound exposure, and suturing during the actual procedure.

Opportunities: This is a very technical job requiring superior "people" skills as well as exquisite attention to detail. If you are a perfectionist and detail oriented this is the career for you!

Challenges: This is the ultimate team-work position: you will use your people skills all day every day in the OR suite. The amount of personal patient contact, however, is minimal. While you may be touching the patient in fact there will be little chance to "touch" the patient emotionally.

Please see the AORN website for further information about the specialty OR nursing.

Also look at the description for OR nursing in and in Discover Nursing.