Am I too old to start in the OR?

  1. I am returning to nursing after being out for 8 years. I started out in med/surg, then went to telemetry, ER and finally home health. One of the large hospitals in our area is offering a 7 month OR training class, and I have always been interested in the OR from the beginning, but that is as far as it went. I am seriously comtemplating taking this course, but am worried that at age 44 and having been completely out of nursing for 8 years, I may be biting off more than I can chew. What do you think?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    My aunt started in OR when she was 46, and is doing fine, so my opinion is no, you're not too old for it.
  4. by   suzanne4
    You are never too old for something that you really want to do.....
  5. by   grimmy
    Quote from rnbackagain
    i am returning to nursing after being out for 8 years. i started out in med/surg, then went to telemetry, er and finally home health. one of the large hospitals in our area is offering a 7 month or training class, and i have always been interested in the or from the beginning, but that is as far as it went. i am seriously comtemplating taking this course, but am worried that at age 44 and having been completely out of nursing for 8 years, i may be biting off more than i can chew. what do you think?

    [font=book antiqua]i am 40 come july, and i just started in the or. i'm loving it. i also graduated from nursing school last june, after 2 previous careers. can you do it? absolutely. a 7 month training class sounds like a wonderful opportunity. just be ready: by month two, you may be tearing your hair out from overload. if you can get through that, you'll be on your way. the trouble really is that there will be 15 people telling you 15 different ways to do one thing. my best advice is to take the good, think on the not-so-good, and keep an open mind. like any other unit, you will find control-freaks, the totally lackadaisical, and the fantastic nurses. you'll know what to do. :wink2: you can do it.
  6. by   rnbackagain
    Quote from grimmy

    [font=book antiqua]i am 40 come july, and i just started in the or. i'm loving it. i also graduated from nursing school last june, after 2 previous careers. can you do it? absolutely. a 7 month training class sounds like a wonderful opportunity. just be ready: by month two, you may be tearing your hair out from overload. if you can get through that, you'll be on your way. the trouble really is that there will be 15 people telling you 15 different ways to do one thing. my best advice is to take the good, think on the not-so-good, and keep an open mind. like any other unit, you will find control-freaks, the totally lackadaisical, and the fantastic nurses. you'll know what to do. :wink2: you can do it.
    by "month two" do you mean the 2nd month into the training or actual job? did you also go through an extensive surgery training class?
  7. by   grimmy
    Quote from rnbackagain
    by "month two" do you mean the 2nd month into the training or actual job? did you also go through an extensive surgery training class?

    [font=book antiqua]i meant month 2 of the actual training. i think i had just finished the gu service, and my brain was fried. i was not alone; the other orientees were similarly freaked out by the overload of information. take it from me, there were times i asked for a break simply to go to a bathroom stall to sit down and space out, cry, etc. for 5 minutes. some cases are very intense, as some surgeons thrive on intensity, while others are usually happy-go-lucky and casual. some are just juvenile, and you have to learn to tolerate their tantrums.
    we spent a total of 6 months going through the different services (ent, general, eyes, thoracic, etc.). we had a preliminary grand total of 5 days learning how to do a proper scrub, gowning and gloving, instrumentation, and aseptic technique. we also spent a day in sterile supply, restocking, and going through the library of equipment. between days of learning to scrub and circulate, we had in-service meetings on suture, endoscopic equipment, blood-borne pathogens, computer documentation, fire emergencies in the or, electrocautery, etc.
    during the 6 months, we were not considered counted staff. there was always another rn in the room to assist. at the end of 6 months, we had a month of "protected" status, meaning there would be backup available, if necessary. my protected status is officially over, and in the next 3 months, i have to get my nursing portfolio together and present it for consideration to move up the clincial ladder (get a raise, etc.).
    now, bear in mind that this is a really big or. we have nearly 30 ors, trauma i facility. different places will do things differently. after month 3 i started to develop a little more self-confidence, made some friends, found folks to talk to, etc. granted, i am far from expert right now. i am grateful for what little i actually know. biggest thing i've learned so far is to not take everything personally. grant yourself the title of "new" and "learning." say to the surgeon, "i'm new to the scrub role, so i appreciate your patience." hopefully, your mentor will let them know ahead of time, but that doesn't always happen. oh, and don't fall for the joke on the scrub...when they ask for a "pullman elevator" turn to them and say, "sorry, i can't carry that one by myself."
  8. by   anitime
    I was 46 when I trained in the OR in Texas.
    The average age for OR nurses is about 48 in Canada due to an aging workforce and shortage of nurses.
    There is also a huge shortage in the US.
    The previous writer explained the training..... The one thing you have do is harden up... It is not as touchy feely as floor nursing... Some of the docs can be real jerks and act out in a setting where the patient is asleep.
    But on the whole OR nursing is great. You only have one pt. at a time.
    Go for it!!!!
  9. by   rnbackagain
    Thanks for your replies. I am thankful to hear from you nurses in your 40's who started OR around that time in your lives. I was afraid I would be in a class of 20 somethings (well, and I still may), and feel alot older than I already do. I've got to really think hard and pray hard that this is something I want to do, because it will be 7 months of fulltime days training, THEN fulltime work, and I haven't worked fulltime for a LONG time, BUT OR has interested me from the very beginning. I live in a small rural city about an hour away from the metropolitan area the hospital is located. Will that present a problem come time to take call? What might be the OR's view on that?
  10. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Our policy for call is that you have to be within 25 minutes of getting to the hospital when they call you. Our supervisors don't frown on people that live an hour away (we have one that lives TWO hours away), but they emphasize the call policy, and remind you that you need to make arrangements to be able to get to the hospital in the specified time when you're on call. Our facility has a hall of call rooms where people can sleep if they live further than 20 minutes away. And some have local relatives they can stay with.
  11. by   grimmy
    Quote from rnbackagain
    thanks for your replies. i am thankful to hear from you nurses in your 40's who started or around that time in your lives. i was afraid i would be in a class of 20 somethings (well, and i still may), and feel alot older than i already do. i've got to really think hard and pray hard that this is something i want to do, because it will be 7 months of fulltime days training, then fulltime work, and i haven't worked fulltime for a long time, but or has interested me from the very beginning. i live in a small rural city about an hour away from the metropolitan area the hospital is located. will that present a problem come time to take call? what might be the or's view on that?

    [font=book antiqua]our policy is 30 minutes away or less. if you live farther away than that, the facility owns hotel rooms where you can stay. they're very close by. we get $2.00 for carrying the pager and, when called in, the choice of: time and a half plus added pto, or $40/hour without adding pto. check the policy with the nurse manager at your facility. fulltime work after a lot of part-time (or no time!) is rough. make sure you schedule some "personal" time for your life. i get a massage every 2 weeks, and i go to the gym 5 days a week. for me, it's simply stress management. i also love working out in my garden (yea! spring is here!)
  12. by   rnbackagain
    How often is call and for how long usually? I have a sister that doesn't live too far from the hospital, so I can always stay with her. How many other RNs are on call with you?
  13. by   grimmy
    Quote from rnbackagain
    how often is call and for how long usually? i have a sister that doesn't live too far from the hospital, so i can always stay with her. how many other rns are on call with you?

    [font=book antiqua]for us, call is every couple weeks, although trades are frequent. you can request certain days for call, but its largely done via lottery. for how long is anyone's guess. if you wind up getting called in at 3am, and you stay until 7am, you can choose to go home (after being relieved) and take some pto time, and come in "late." as for how many nurses with you, it depends. but, if you're a nurse on with a tech, you can only trade with a nurse.

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