OR Nurse Career Guide

October 18, 2021

OR nurses are commonly referred to as scrub or surgical nurses. It is important to know that there are three different types of OR nurses with each having a demarcated role.

  • Pre-op OR nurses are responsible for getting the patients ready for surgery. They will also oversee answering questions and conversing with their relatives about the procedure. Finally, they complete patient checks on the patients’ vital signs to make sure that they are properly ready for the surgery, IV fluids, and other paperwork needed to be completed.
  • Intra-op OR nurses assist surgeons during the operations and make sure that the right equipment is available before the commencement of the surgery and that all necessary personnel is present. During surgery, OR nurses fall into the role of circulating or scrubbing. They also make sure the environment remains completely sterile and assist the surgeon in any desired way.
  • Post-op OR nurse or PACU, has the role of taking care of patients right after their surgery by monitoring their recovery, checking vital signs, and updating the family members on the progress of the patient post-operation.

To secure the position of becoming an OR nurse, there are six main steps that an individual must undergo. The individual in this field must earn an associate degree (although it is highly recommended that you obtain a bachelors’ degree in nursing). In the circumstance that you do not have a bachelor’s degree, you can work in nursing assistant positions with an associate degree whilst fulfilling other educational needs. OR nurse candidates can also successfully pass the NCLEX- RN exam to become registered nurses after obtaining their associate degree in the nursing field (ADN).

More so, before gaining niche certifications that will get you the qualifications as an OR nurse, the individual must complete a nursing degree that lasts four years. A bachelor’s degree will not only qualify for the NCLEX-RN exam but you can also further your higher education by obtaining postgraduate degrees if you decide you want to advance your career.

The NCLEX-RN is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and passing the exam will make you a registered nurse. As previously stated, you can attempt this exam once you complete your AND or you can wait until you complete your bachelor’s degree.

Once you’ve passed the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain your nursing license, the individual can commence working as an RN in an emergency room, critical care unit or operating room setting. Through operating in these environments, you’ll acquire tacit knowledge and skills to aid in working with different patients and synergizing with surgical teams to prepare for more advanced positions as an OR nurse.

With gaining important field knowledge and experience, prospective OR nurses should go ahead and complete certifications to improve their employability. A very popular certification is the Certified Nurse Operation Room (CNOR) credential. This is a five-year certification that the individual must have a minimum of 2 years of relevant work experience to attempt and pass the exam.

The final step is to apply for OR nursing jobs. Using your relevant work and certifications to better your resume and cover letter, will help you stand out from different candidates and applicants applying for the same positions. With being a very healthy field to work in economically, the average OR nurse makes $122,768 per year plus approximately $12,000 in overtime pay. This is dependent on geographical location, education history, certifications, and prior RMN experience.

OR Nurse Career Guide – Medical Talent

Whether you are looking to get into this career or need help finding certified OR Nurses, Medical Talent, a Medical Talents company, is here to assist.  Through our JHACO certification, we can offer resources for additional training or placing qualified personnel.

Have any questions?  Please reach out to us today.

This article is part of a series on Strengthening America’s Workforce

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