Don't Lose Your Clinical Skills?

  1. I am a student graduating next year and I have always wanted to go into OR nursing. However, every time I tell my wish to my tele and ICU nursing friends, their response is to never lose my clinical skills. How do I accomplish this if I am fortunate enough to be hired directly into a new OR training program?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    I promise that you will never lose your clinical skills. You will be using all of them on a daily basis, at least in most places. You will still be assessing patients, watching monitors, etc. Patients are brought down from ICUs on monitors and you may have to watch them until anesthesia can get to the bedside to take over. You may have to help out in PACU in the evening or on weekends, if they only have one RN there. You are also the pre-op nurse on off-shift, such as weekends and afternoons/nights. So you will be filling in the paperwork adn asking the questions...................

    p.s. I think that they are jealous that you got to start in the OR )
  4. by   MelissaRN
    I can't say this with certainty because I won't be working as an OR nurse till June 15, but the OR nurses have completely different skills that are utilized. I'v been working med/surg since I graduated and am going to the OR where I will have to have an extensive orientation. I am excited as you will be at learning a 'specialty'.
  5. by   suzanne4
    The OR sill be adding to your skills that you already have. You definitely won't lose the skills that you already have. And I am an experienced OR nurse.
  6. by   KristinWW
    Quote from suzanne4
    I promise that you will never lose your clinical skills. You will be using all of them on a daily basis, at least in most places. You will still be assessing patients, watching monitors, etc. Patients are brought down from ICUs on monitors and you may have to watch them until anesthesia can get to the bedside to take over. You may have to help out in PACU in the evening or on weekends, if they only have one RN there. You are also the pre-op nurse on off-shift, such as weekends and afternoons/nights. So you will be filling in the paperwork adn asking the questions...................

    p.s. I think that they are jealous that you got to start in the OR )
    Oh no - I'm not graduating until next year in May - I am not working in OR, but I'd like to. The nurses who made that statement are both ARNPs but have only worked in tele and ICU. They said that in OR it's a diff game entirely, hence the don't lose your clinical skills statement.
  7. by   KristinWW
    Quote from suzanne4
    The OR sill be adding to your skills that you already have. You definitely won't lose the skills that you already have. And I am an experienced OR nurse.
    Even if I don't have any skills yet?
  8. by   CardioTrans
    I worked in the OR a many yrs ago. I scrubbed and circulated. I was always afraid of "losing my skills" as well. The skills in the OR are skills IN ADDITITON to what you do on the floor. I dont know how many people will see it this way, but a surgeon once told all the nurses that worked in the OR: "Any OR nurse can work on the med-surg floor, but not all floor nurses can work in the OR". The OR is a totally different world. You will have instruments to learn, different equipment, you will get up close and personal with some of the procedures. You also have PACU. You never lose your skills working in the OR. You just learn more. If that is what you want to do, then dont let anyone stop you.
  9. by   Erin RN
    I think whatever specialty you go in to you are going to "lose" some skills but you will become incredibly proficient at others. It really just depends on the focus of your speciality. For instance, I did ER nursing..did I remember how to read fetal heart tones?? No! I could however read an ekg quite well. I would guess that most L and D nurses can read the FHT and deliver a baby without a thought but that an EKG or cardiac enzymes or lavage might be a little more difficult since they aren't faced with it daily. Conversely..give me a laboring mom and I was running with her to the elevator to get her up to those L and D nurses..Good luck to you!! Erin
  10. by   suzanne4
    Quote from Erin RN
    I think whatever specialty you go in to you are going to "lose" some skills but you will become incredibly proficient at others. It really just depends on the focus of your speciality. For instance, I did ER nursing..did I remember how to read fetal heart tones?? No! I could however read an ekg quite well. I would guess that most L and D nurses can read the FHT and deliver a baby without a thought but that an EKG or cardiac enzymes or lavage might be a little more difficult since they aren't faced with it daily. Conversely..give me a laboring mom and I was running with her to the elevator to get her up to those L and D nurses..Good luck to you!! Erin
    In the OR you actually use all of those skills. Such as using a fetal monitor, looking at an EKG (if you knew how to read them to begin with), looking at chest x-rays and cardiac cath reports. Doing head to toe assessments when you are the pre-op nurse, starting IVs if you are the pre-op nurse. Obtaining specimens and sending them to the lab or pathology. Pumping blood into a patient when anesthesia is busy with something else. If you are in a heart room, then operating the defibrillator when it is needed. Definitely don't lose any skills, if you are in a busy facility that does all types of cases.
  11. by   TeenyBabyRN
    Quote from suzanne4
    In the OR you actually use all of those skills. Such as using a fetal monitor, looking at an EKG (if you knew how to read them to begin with), looking at chest x-rays and cardiac cath reports. Doing head to toe assessments when you are the pre-op nurse, starting IVs if you are the pre-op nurse. Obtaining specimens and sending them to the lab or pathology. Pumping blood into a patient when anesthesia is busy with something else. If you are in a heart room, then operating the defibrillator when it is needed. Definitely don't lose any skills, if you are in a busy facility that does all types of cases.
    I think it depends a lot on the facility in which you work (also the geographic region and how things are done there) In the facilities I have worked in, there are holding room nurses, there are OR nurses, and there are PACU nurses. Three separate units with their own staffing (they don't "share"). Therefore, the OR nurses really dont have much clinical contact with the patients. To make a sweeping statement that all OR nurses keep up their clinical skills by using them on a daily basis is inaccurate. I am sure that in some facilities that is true, but not all - something for the OP to look at when deciding where to work after graduation
  12. by   suzanne4
    Yes, but remember also that many hospitals do not have pre-op open off- shift, such as evenings,nights, and weekends. Also, some hospitals only have one RN on call for PACU with OR as the back-up.
  13. by   Erin RN
    Quote from TeenyBabyRN
    I think it depends a lot on the facility in which you work (also the geographic region and how things are done there) In the facilities I have worked in, there are holding room nurses, there are OR nurses, and there are PACU nurses. Three separate units with their own staffing (they don't "share"). Therefore, the OR nurses really dont have much clinical contact with the patients. To make a sweeping statement that all OR nurses keep up their clinical skills by using them on a daily basis is inaccurate. I am sure that in some facilities that is true, but not all - something for the OP to look at when deciding where to work after graduation
    I agree with Teeny...
    I spoke with one of my friends tonight who is an OR nurse and this is how things are run in the hospitals here also. She has very little clinical type contact with the patients. I guess it is different everywhere.
    The point I was trying to make is that is ANY speciality you will be faced day in and day out with similar challenges and then once in awhile you will have to deal with a skill that is not as common to you and not second nature. In my opinion that is why they are called specialties..you know "jack of all trades master of none"... The good news is most skills are like riding a bike...even if you feel nervous and are not doing them by rote, they do come back to you... Erin
  14. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from Erin RN
    I think whatever specialty you go in to you are going to "lose" some skills but you will become incredibly proficient at others. It really just depends on the focus of your speciality......
    I totally agree with the above statement.

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