Advice for newbies in the OR

  1. I see alot of posts by ppl new to the OR or thinking about joining the OR, I'd like to help by posting a 'What life in the OR is like" post.

    First, OR nursing is much different than floor nursing.
    Keep an open mind. Things in the OR are constanly changing and you learn something new every day. I'm still learning this job after 16 yrs. I consider that one of the benies of the job! I like the ever changing enviroment of the OR. You never know what might come in the door next. You have to be felxible. The schedule can change at a moments notice.

    :smackingf At first it might be overwhelming. So much info to learn and hopefully you have a good orientation program in place. OR's have the reputation of "eating their young" I never understood this. We are shooting ourselves in the foot. So seasoned RN's remember you were once there.

    :typing Take notes. Those little spiral bound index cards are great. Write down Dr. preferences that aren't on the preference cards. If your facility is like mine alot of info doesn't make it to the cards in a timely manner.

    Ask questions! When I'm precepting I like ?'s. That shows me your interested. I get frustrated when I don't see interest. For example:
    I recently had a new RN who was more interested in talking and reading her e-mail during the case instead of paying attention to what was going on at the field. Your will eventually develop a "3rd" ear where you can do something else while listening to what's going on in the room. But, IT TAKES A LONG TIME before you get to that point.
    I can be heading out the door to retrieve something before they ask just by listening to the talk at the field.

    umpiron: It's a physically demanding job. Your moving equipment, pt's and running alot. If your on call and it's been a nuts day you have to keep going. At my facility we have a call team and a late team. If we have 3 rooms going at 3pm, we usually stay to finish the case. If we have an appointment after work, the facilitator tries to get us out. But, it doesn't always happen. I have had to cancel appointments.

    I love my job and we have an awesome crew! You get to know ppl real well when you spend so much time with them. We joke that we spent the night with so and so. And most importantly WE HAVE FUN!! Gotta have fun, life's too short.



    :groupwelcome: and sorry for being long winded. Hope I didn't paint a gloomy picture of the OR I just wanted to tell what to expect.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   StudentNurseSteph
    thanks so much because i'm VERY interested in OR nursing.. one year left of school and then i'll prolly do med/surg for a year or two then switch to OR hopefully :-D
  4. by   mvanz9999
    Thanks for the info. We need more posts like this from nurses in every specialty.
  5. by   callalily32
    Thanks for this thread! I think it's funny that you mention that OR nurses have the rep of "eating their young". My friend is an OR nurse and she says the exact same thing! I am still waiting to hear if I am accepted into nursing school, but I dream of becoming an OR nurse one day. I can't wait for the challenge and "running around like crazy" as my friend tells me.
  6. by   CIRQL8
    OK - I'll add my two cents

    Nurse to Pt ratio: 1 to 1

    Staff relationships: Great - In my experience we all get along and try to help one another

    Doctors: More 'informal' in the OR than on the floor. In one way, shape, or form, express appreciation for making their case go smoothly.
  7. by   mikethern
    Quote from CIRQL8
    OK - I'll add my two cents

    Nurse to Pt ratio: 1 to 1

    Staff relationships: Great - In my experience we all get along and try to help one another

    Doctors: More 'informal' in the OR than on the floor. In one way, shape, or form, express appreciation for making their case go smoothly.
    Some nurses and surgeons are very mean. Be prepared for this.
  8. by   PACNWNURSING
    thanks for the information, i am really interested in the or because it seems it will fit my personality. i enjoy change and learning new things.
  9. by   JaxiaKiley
    Thanks for sharing. I'm really interested in OR nursing.
  10. by   morris-lpn
    i will be graduating from nursing school here in august. everyone i spoke to says i need at least 1 year med/surg before picking a speciality. i hate med/surg, i've seen alot of my preivous classmate go right in a speciality field after graduation, as i am leaning toward icu, pacu, or, and er because of the patient ratio.
  11. by   Natkat
    Quote from morris-rn
    i will be graduating from nursing school here in august. everyone i spoke to says i need at least 1 year med/surg before picking a speciality. i hate med/surg, i've seen alot of my preivous classmate go right in a speciality field after graduation, as i am leaning toward icu, pacu, or, and er because of the patient ratio.
    I had my OR rotation this week. The nurses I spoke to in the OR encouraged me to go right into OR if that is what I'm interested in. One of the nurses said everyone kept trying to tell her to go to med-surg first and she went ahead and did what she wanted and went for OR training. She's been working there 16 years and says she can't imagine doing anything else.

    She's my inspiration because that is exactly what I intend to do. People keep telling me I should go to med-surg first, but I feel the way you do. I hate med-surg and hope I never have to spend time there. Of course if there is no other option I would do it. But if I have other options I'll take those over working med-surg.
  12. by   Califlower
    What are the hours like in the OR? I've heard that it is mostly days -- does that mean that it is mostly 8 hr shifts, or are 12 hour shifts available? How many call hours are assigned per week?
  13. by   mikethern
    Quote from Califlower
    What are the hours like in the OR? I've heard that it is mostly days -- does that mean that it is mostly 8 hr shifts, or are 12 hour shifts available? How many call hours are assigned per week?
    It depends on the facility. I've seen 8-hr shifts, 10-hr shifts, and 12-hour shifts.

    Possible shifts are 7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm, 11pm-7am, 7am-5pm, 7am-7pm, 7pm-7am.

    Call depends on the facility. A couple times a week is average.
  14. by   CrazyScrubNurse
    Here are my two cents also:
    NEVER let'em see you cry!!!! The docs have high stress and sometimes are rude or short but don't let it get to you...in front of them at least. Then after a while they will feel like part of your group of friends or your family...after all we spend more time confined with them than our OWN family. Be strong, not timid! Never stop asking questions. You will be surprised what a little intrest in their surgery, and techniques can get ya!!!

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