ICU to OR nursing: Relevant experience for NP?

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    So i've been in ICU for 1 year now, and am switching jobs because my husband just landed a great new positon, but his schedule doesn't mesh with my 3 - 12s/nights/holidays/weekends.

    I was just offerred a position in OR, where I would work M-F and be off at 3pm every day and work q.5th.wknd.

    My question is, i'm beginning an RN-MSN program and will eventually have my NP. I'm wondering, if going to the OR is going to hold me back in future job opportunities as an NP? I am pretty open to working in a clinic or being employed in the hospital setting and rounding with physicians, etc (as an NP).

    I will not be done with NP for another 3.5 years, so i'm wondering if that 1 year of ICU experience plus a few years of OR will be enough experience to land an NP position, or will the OR hold me back? I've also considered staying in OR for a couple years and transitioning to a different position that would be more relevant experience for NP, if necessary.

    I appreciate the input, thank you!
  2. 4 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I think it depends on the focus of your MSN-NP and what role you seek as a NP. If you want to work with surgeons and assist in surgery, working in the OR now will probably give you a good foundation. If you want to manage inpatient populations, working in the ICU would give you a better foundation. In fact, nearly all of the open positions for acute care NPs prefer recent critical care nursing experience of at least 2-3 yrs.

    OR nursing is very specialized with the nurses functioning as circulators or scrubs. It doesn't leave give you much time to hone your assessment skills (which is what most employers are looking for when hiring new NPs.

    I hope this helps, good luck!!
  4. 0
    I don't think it will hold you back in any way. I met a NP at the AANP convention in Vegas last June who is an "up and comer" in all things NP and DNP, and a rising star at his institution and within the AANP and ANA. His background is all orthopedic OR as a RNFA. As a result, he is about to start the very first orthopedic NP specialty program in the country.

    Few of us are going to rise to the heights he has or is going to, but I think his background makes it evident that being an OR nurse is not a disadvantage to becoming a NP.

    Good luck!
  5. 1
    I was an OR nurse for 2 years before I went back to FNP school. I now specialize as a surgical nurse practitioner, however I also round in the ICU and do plenty of non surgical work such a rounding, consults, clinic, and managing my surgical inpatients total head to toe care. I think the ICU experience you are getting now is very valuable, but it all depends on what type of setting you want to work in as a NP. If you have no desire to be a surgical NP going into the OR might not benefit you as much. Being an OR nurse will not hurt you though, in terms of going to school to be an NP.
    CCRNDiva likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from Alisabeth
    I was an OR nurse for 2 years before I went back to FNP school. I now specialize as a surgical nurse practitioner, however I also round in the ICU and do plenty of non surgical work such a rounding, consults, clinic, and managing my surgical inpatients total head to toe care. I think the ICU experience you are getting now is very valuable, but it all depends on what type of setting you want to work in as a NP. If you have no desire to be a surgical NP going into the OR might not benefit you as much. Being an OR nurse will not hurt you though, in terms of going to school to be an NP.
    Great to hear your experience Alisabeth. I am currently moving into my 3rd year in the SICU and am plannning on going back for my NP this year. I have been going back and forth between FNP and ACNP. My goal is to work in the Surgical setting (SICU and/or OR) From your experience it sounds like the FNP was adequate for you to function in the Surgical/Critical Care setting. Would it be fair to believe that with my SICU experience and FNP certification I could function as you do - within the SICU (rounding, consults) and possibly in the OR as well? Do you believe I need OR experience or a certification as a first assistant? Thanks for the help - I have been searching for someone with your type of experience for help in deciding which degree would serve me best. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!


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