RPNs in Operating Room?

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I am going to be starting Pre-Health then onto RPN this Sept.

    My question is, what if any are the roles of RPN in the OR? If there are none would you recommend going onto RN?

    Also I have heard of some sort of RPN post-grad OR certificate, anyone know what this is?

  2. Visit CFG77 profile page

    About CFG77

    Joined: Feb '13; Posts: 46; Likes: 6


  3. by   Insomniac-88

    Here in Ontario, and at the large regional health system I work for, RPNs in the OR work directly beside the surgeon(s). Much like their first-hand. You will hand them surgical instruments. It is an added skill, meaning you must take the OR course after graduation in order to work in the OR. RNs must take this course as well, but are not normally employed as an OR tech, all job postings I've seen are targeted to RPNs with this added skill specifically. You are paid the same as you'd be working in any other hospital area.
  4. by   Fiona59
    I'm qualified as an ORT.

    Post grad course. Qualified to scrub and circulate in the OR. In my province we make a $/hr more than an LPN. Depending on your hospital and OR, the RNs prefer to circulate and will always schedule in an ORT to scrub if they can get away with it.

    The ORT and RN OR course differs only in that the RN course includes a module on supervisory skills.

    You need a thick skin and a type A personality to work in the OR. You must be able to stand for long periods of time and endure the cold. You also have to be able to wear the lead apron for cases involving xrays. You do not get to pick which ORs you work in. You are assigned an OR by the OR manager. So if you dream of working gynie, unless you work in a women's hospital you will be in Ortho, Neuro, general surgery theatres.

    It's one of those jobs that you love it or hate it. Remember that ORs work 24/7 and you will be required to take call on weekends and stats.
  5. by   CFG77
    Thanks guys thats awesome! Anyone know what exactly that course is and is it different from the OR tech? Thanks!
  6. by   Fiona59
    Quote from CFG77
    Thanks guys thats awesome! Anyone know what exactly that course is and is it different from the OR tech? Thanks!
    Sorry don't understand the question.

    You graduate and write CPRNE. It's a good idea to have some actual work experience. The training course I took is/was through Grant MacEwan University. Distance ed and a preceptorship in an OR.
  7. by   4_Sq
    I have worked with nurses who took the Perioperative course through Grand Prairie Regional College, Grand Prairie Alberta Canada, and these nurses had an excellent training through this college.
    I am not sure if the course is offered for LPN's as well as RN's but I believe it is.
    In BC there are more LPN's being hired for the OR, and the wage IS slightly higher in the OR than on the floor (I work with LPN's in the OR and they are EXCELLENT) Right now our LPN's do not do weekends, they do not do call, they scrub and are now beginning to circulate.
    Just my thoughts, I think it is a good career choice for LPN's (I guess they are called RPN in other provinces)
  8. by   vintage_RN
    I know in Ontario there are more opportunities for RPNS to circulate in day surgery because they are usually minor surgeries with relatively stable patients. I believe an RN must also be present though in case something goes wrong or a pts status changes. In regular surgery, I've only heard of RPNs in the scrub role here, or as a second circulator if needed, but the first circulator must be an RN.
  9. by   CFG77
    Hi and thanks for all the great replies!

    I just want to clarify, the scrub role I know what that means but what about the circulatory role? Is that the nurse that replenishes everything and goes from OR to OR?

    Thanks again!
  10. by   Fiona59
    The cirulator (sorry if I've spelt it wrong, it's still early) monitors the sterile field and barks at anyone who gets too close or touchs it. Dispenses any drugs to the field that are required. Opens extra supplies, documents what is being used, fields phone calls, and can send out for a runner for any items that are needed.

    The cirulator can be an RN or an LPN/ORT.
  11. by   dishes
    Something I am curious about, maybe someone knows the answer. If while in the OR, something goes wrong or the patient's status changes, the responsibility lies with the surgeon who is in the OR doing the surgery, so why do ORs need to be staffed with a mix or RNs and PNs? Wouldn't it be just as safe to staff with PNs?
  12. by   Fiona59
    Yes, Dishes it would be safe. It all has to do with the national body for operating room RNs.

    I really think it comes down to politics. The miitary sends its medics after they qualify as LPNs to the OR Tech course offered by Norquest. I've met a military ORT who also functioned as first assist.

    American hospitals train unlicensed personnel for the OR. They do it as a cost saving technique.

    But I'm sure there is one regular Ontario poster who will pop up and give us the party line calling for an all RN staff.
  13. by   ajaxgirl
    Who is the poster calling for all RN staff?
  14. by   MizzMo
    (sorry i haven't PM'd you back, the site won't let me until i've been active on here for a bit/posted XX number of comments lol)

    I'm not too sure about RPNs being in the OR either but it's been something I've also been interested as an option in the future once i'm done the RPN program at Centennial.

    I know that Centennial has an OR program available and I would assume other colleges would as well. You'll be at GB, correct?

    (the GB link is for an RN OR program i think... I don't know if an RPN could take it as well but I'm sure you could contact the school and ask what your options are or perhaps transfer to a school that offers an OR course that an RPN could take)