Tales From Behind The Mask - OR Nursing How-To - page 2

by GadgetRN71 | 20,355 Views | 16 Comments

An old OR nurse once told me that any good OR nurse always carries scissors in his/her pocket. While I make use of my scissors daily, there are other factors that are vital to being a great OR nurse. One of the first things... Read More


  1. 1
    What a delight to read this article! And what perfect timing for me to read it! I am a 2nd year RN student, and tomorrow I get to spend my day in the OR. I have been looking forward to this experience since I found out about it from friends who were in the RN & LPN programs before I began my journey of becoming an RN. After my OR orientation today I was feeling a little nervous about going tomorrow! For the first time I felt like I was going to be sick, and felt so worried that I would inadvertently contaminate something or worse. But reading this article lightened my mood, eased some of my worries, and brought back the excitement!!! If only you were the circulating nurse in my OR room tomorrow! I hope whomever the OR nurse is, that she is as willing to share her experience with me as you have been through this article! Thank-you!!!!
    Last edit by danid86 on Jan 27, '10
    GadgetRN71 likes this.
  2. 0
    I had the most WONDERFUL two days in the OR!!!!! I'm already sad that I don't get to go back tomorrow. The staff let me scrub in for one orthopedic surgery... they let me gown and glove the surgeon... and then the surgeon used me as his assistant! It was AMAZING!
  3. 0
    Thank you so much for this post. I am currently in my third year of nursing school in BC, Canada. In the last year or so, I have expressed an interest in getting some experience in the OR to my instructors. It seems that me being vocal about this desire has made them try harder to keep me out of the OR... I have been in peoples' ears about wanting this experience for a year now and still nothing! Now, in my third year I finally have the opportunity to do my "OR follow-through" because I am one of the only ones who has not done this (aside from spending an hour and a half watching my medical patient receive a pacer, which is a very minor surgery I understand). I have met nothing but dead ends as far as asking my instructors to spend time in the OR... I always get responses along the lines of "you need more time in the medical/surgical floors to get your skills up", "you'll narrow your opportunities if you go straight from nursing school into the OR", "if you feel you have the personality where you'd rather be in the OR... (the assumption that OR nurses do not interact with patients and are "cold" I assume?). I don't understand why instructors are so against allowing students to explore what they find interesting. This particular instructor actually forbade me from even going into the OR on my own time as a student observer. I don't understand why they have been making it so difficult for me. I was actually starting to think that maybe everyone was right, until I read this article. Feeling bummed out and discouraged, I decided to start looking in the right places for stories from people who have actually spent time in the OR and not from biased instructors, and this article was exactly what I needed. THANK YOU for sharing a different side of OR nursing! I realize that this was posted long ago, but if you're still around, or to any other OR nurses, I would really appreciate some words of wisdom because it seems I am fighting a losing battle!
    -- Kari the Student Nurse
    Please allow me to clarify: I am not trying to criticize nursing instructors in this post, I am simply wondering what is with all the stigma regarding the OR and student experience in the OR?
    Last edit by StudentKari12 on Sep 10, '10
  4. 1
    Just got a positions in the OR and starting next January. Thanks for the informative post about what is going to be expected of me! I have been looking for information all over the place. I graduated May of '09 and was immediately placed in Med/Surg. Been doing it for 19 months now and I finally got my dream job of being in the OR. Many of my former managers are shocked since I don't have years of experience. But I truly believe that your attitude: enthusiasm and initiative, is what would land such a job and make you successful in it. I will be getting 16 weeks of orientation and am extremely excited! For those of you who don't think Med/Surg would be a good start, I urge you to rethink. Even though Med/Surg is a completely different type of nursing, it still teaches you a baseline of nursing and interpersonal skills that are invaluable in the OR and, really, any other specialty. For instance, I've mastered foley insertion, surgical wound dressing changes, assessing surgical wounds for infection sterile technique, and dealing with pt's anxiety issues prior to surgery the next day. I've already been exposed to staples, steri strips, JP drains, and penrose drains. When recieving report from PACU on a surgical pt coming up to the floor, I've learned about EBL (estimated blood loss), how much fluid into the pt, how much fluid out, if MAC, local or general anesthesia was used, changes in pt's vital signs, how the pt tolerated the surgery, any complications, any problems recovering in PACU, ect. The point being that I would have had no clue what any of that meant or what would be expected of me if it wasn't for my start in med/surg right out of nursing school. I'm so excited to build off of what I already know and be in a specialty that I am sure I want to be in. Good luck guys!
    danid86 likes this.
  5. 0
    Hey

    Im fairly new to this site but I've been working as an OR nurse for nearly a year and a half now.
    I've found that I use little to no 'nursing' skills in the operating room. There are two roles that I perform 1) circulating (which is being a glorified gopher...there is a little bit of assessment, but mostly it's about managing the OR room in general rather than patient care -> mostly done by anesthesia 2) scrubbing (which involves knowing the instruments, sterile technique, and how to pass the instruments.

    To be quite honest surgery utilizes virtually none of the skills I learned in school (BSN). Anyways, hope this helps!

    -will
  6. 1
    Quote from compactsnake
    Hey

    Im fairly new to this site but I've been working as an OR nurse for nearly a year and a half now.
    I've found that I use little to no 'nursing' skills in the operating room. There are two roles that I perform 1) circulating (which is being a glorified gopher...there is a little bit of assessment, but mostly it's about managing the OR room in general rather than patient care -> mostly done by anesthesia 2) scrubbing (which involves knowing the instruments, sterile technique, and how to pass the instruments.

    To be quite honest surgery utilizes virtually none of the skills I learned in school (BSN). Anyways, hope this helps!

    -will
    If you are using "little to no 'nursing' skills", then you aren't doing the best job you can be. A little bit of assessment? Your preop skin assessment can mean the difference between recognizing a pressure ulcer that a patient came into the hospital with vs. one that was caused by surgical positioning and affects reimbursement. Circulating is much much more than being a glorified gopher. As an OR nurse, I find that while my job is very different than floor nursing, I'm still using a lot of nursing skills. They're just different ones- nursing school in no way can touch on every nursing specialty.
    GadgetRN71 likes this.
  7. 0
    Hey I certainly didn't mean to diminish the rn's role in the OR, I believe they are vital. But I would say most nurses would agree, 90% of the skills learned in a ban program don't apply to the OR. Are we responsible for assessing skin condition, yes. Do I occasionally put a foley in? Sure, but care plans, Ib starts, medication management etc. All done by anesthesia. It terms of being the best OR nurse I can be? Well seeing as I have received many requests by surgeons to e in their room, and ill be moving into a team leader position, I think I'm doing ok. Anyways, I apologize if I offended you.


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