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OR nursing and what its all about

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Old 07-21-2007, 07:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington State
Posts: 396
sam78 HB User
OR nursing and what its all about

I have been interested in what OR nurses actually do and whether it is a good career or not. I have heard it is a lot of standing and working in a freezing environment. What are the pros and cons??

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Old 08-30-2007, 09:32 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Virginia, USA
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BarbaraH HB UserBarbaraH HB UserBarbaraH HB UserBarbaraH HB User
Re: OR nursing and what its all about

Hi -

I just saw your post, but wanted to reply as I've been an OR nurse for about 20 years.

As you said, the cons are standing and a cold environment, but I look young for my age and credit that to working 8 hours a day in "cold storage"! I wear comfortable shoes, a long sleeve cotton shirt under my scrubs, and scrub jacket. ORs usually have warm bottles of sterile water and saline and those are good to hug in really cold rooms!

The pros are plentiful:
I could put many of my patient's fears to rest before surgery by telling them what to expect, assuring each one that they would be well cared for while asleep, and by holding each patient's hand as they were sedated for the procedure. I helped their waiting families by keeping in touch by phone when the procedures took a long time. I know I made a difference in how all those folks handled the day.

You help properly postion your patients so their bodies and joints are well protected while they're totally relaxed under anesthesia so they have no lingering injury from the position. This is essential and benefits your patients long after surgery is over, indeed, for the rest of their lives.

The things you see and learn to do are really interesting.

It's easy to find a job in another OR if you need to move or choose to change locations. OR experience is gold! The main differences between different ORs are the staff names, where they keep things, and the paperwork. The cases are very similar.

You didn't say if you're an RN, but if so, your job would likely be as the circulator. You'd make sure everything was ready for the surgeon and for the planned procedure. During the procedure you get anything needed by the scrub team, the anesthesiologist, and you fill out the OR record, which is the legal document detailing who was there, what was done, and other important facts. The OR record becomes part of the patient's chart. After the procedure, you assist as the patient begins to awaken, go with the patient to recovery, and give report to the recovery room nurse.

In some ORs, RNs don't scrub, but in other ORs they do. There are schools that train OR scrub technicians and you can learn a lot from the techs you work with.

There is a lot to learn: sterile technique, the names of the instruments, how to safely work all sorts of equipment, how to spell some complicated words, and the ins and outs of all there is to do and do correctly all of the time. Many large ORs will train new personnel and I recommend that if you can find it.

Hope this has answered your question!

Wishing you well - Barbara

Old 10-23-2007, 10:39 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 35
Pink4Flower HB User
Re: OR nursing and what its all about

Oh oh, I have a question

Are there any LVN positions in the OR? I'm currently trying to figure out exactly what nursing route i'd like to take, and i'm interested in the OR.

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