If you are interested in the surgical side of medicine, you may consider a career as a perioperative nurse. A perioperative nurse is also called an operating room nurse or an OR nurse. Perioperative nurses work in surgical units of hospitals, day-surgery (or ambulatory surgery) units, military hospital surgery wards, outpatient surgery centers, clinics, or physician’s offices.
Perioperative nurses work closely with a patient before, during, and after surgery. They help assess the patient, plan a course of treatment, carry the treatment out, and assess the results of treatment. In a surgical setting, there are several roles that a perioperative nurse might play.
A scrub nurse is in charge of selecting and handling surgical tools and supplies that will be used during a procedure. These include instruments, sponges, surgical gowns, caps, eyewear, gloves and more. Generally, this job is filled by a UAP, LPN, or LVN.
The circulator nurse is the advocate for the patient within the operating room. He or she observes the surgery and ensures that all needs are met and that the patient is safe and comfortable. The circulator nurse focuses on the patient’s condition prior to, during, and after the surgery, in order to ensure the best outcome.
The RN first assistant (RNFA) assists the surgeon during the actual procedure. The RNFA may be required to control bleeding, handle or cut tissue, suture, and otherwise use medical instruments and devices. Registered nurses who wish to work in RN jobs like this must undergo additional training and education in order to become qualified. An RFNA may also assist the patient before and after the surgical procedure.
Some perioperative nurses do not take part in procedures. For example, an OR director manages the business end of the operating room, including budgets and staffing.
The average salary for a perioperative nurse is $77,000. Registered nurses must earn additional certification in order to work as a perioperative nurse.