Summary: An Operating Room Nurse is responsible for the planning, execution, conducting and evaluating both direct and indirect nursing care provided to a surgical patient. His/her duties range from preoperative intervention to postoperative examination and other tasks that could help meet a patient’s needs throughout the whole procedure, ensuring continuity of care during the surgical experience.
Duties: Operating Room Nurses are responsible for supervising and directing patient care in an operating room, while ensuring that proper techniques are used according to accepted standards. They also direct other nurses when necessary, report any unusual occurrences to surgeon in charge, document patient records regularly; complete Hospital Incident reports, and maintain count on sponges, needles, and other instruments used in the operating room. The operating room nurse also serve as a scrub nurse when necessary, prepare the operative area, position the patient, adjust the table according to standard policies, ensure all supplies and equipment required are sterile and available for use; observe any changes in the patient’s condition, ensure all medications are administered and charted, care for specimens and cultures as directed, accompany the patient to Post-Op or S.I.C.U; and assist in administrative duties when required.
Education and Training Requirements: To be an Operating Room Nurse, one must be a Registered Nurse with a 2-year associate degree in Practical Nursing, although graduates of a bachelor’s degree in Nursing are often preferred. Being certified in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and having passed the NCLEX-RN to obtain a license to practice is also required. Although not required, it’s also an advantage to be certified through the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: An Operating Room Nurse must be knowledgeable of operating room techniques and management; have excellent communication skills; has knowledge in operating medical equipments; proficient with computers; has the ability to demonstrate the health care and nursing program; can manage, organize, and resolve problems; and has excellent written and oral communication skills.
Working Conditions: An Operating Room Nurse’s job is not for everyone. It is highly stressful since they constantly deal with saving lives all the time. There is no room for mistakes and they are in constant risk of exposure to diseases. Everything has to be done quickly with precision. In some cases, lifting is necessary. Work hours are normally 40 hours per week although they may be required to pick up additional hours. Surgeries are normally scheduled in the mornings but some emergency procedures may be done at night so schedule may vary.
Salary: The median salary of Operating Room nurses is $48,000 per year, varying greatly due to the employer, location, experience, and benefits. Benefits received may include medical and dental plans; flexible spending accounts; life and disability insurance; vacation and sick leaves; retirement plans; tuition reimbursement; and employee discounts.