New grad looking for advice on how to be considered for an OR position

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    I am a new grad and have passed the NCLEX and am awaiting my official license to arrive any day now. I have OR experience as a CST, but unfortunately that was over 10 years ago. I have been told that is still valuable and relevant experience and I would be an excellent candidate for an OR position. I was offered a position by my previous OR manager who knows my work ethic and experience, but it is not a viable option for me unless I sell my house and move because it is over an hour away.

    I really want to work in the OR and have been applying to positions online but am always deemed unqualified. Perhaps it is because I don't have a license number yet and the lack of a number in that field on the application automatically disqualifies me as a viable candidate through the online application system.

    Any advice on how to get my online application noticed? I was able to find out the name of the OR manager for one opening and plan to call and send my resume directly to her this week, but would love to hear any other suggestions.

    Blue
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    The best way is to apply for a Perioperative Internship. Most hospitals don't do on-the-job training in the OR like they used to back in the day. Internship will teach you all the specialities and how to scrub/circulate all the cases. You will find these internship in large academic medical centers as well as those with level I or Level II ERs.
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    I would love an internship, but there are none in my area.

    Blue
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    I am a new grad in TX, and I had not had any prior experience working in a hospital except for my clinicals through school. As a matter of fact, I was a bartender and worked at sonic and that's it. It is tough to get into the OR right out of school because they want you to go through an internship. I applied to one of the big hospitals here in the city and waited for weeks until I finally got an email to set up an interview. In the interview they asked why I wanted to be in the OR and what my experiences were like in my clinicals. It went really really well, and I ended up getting the job offer. It is competitive though. They picked 8 out of over one hundred applicants, and it's a nine month residency! If there are no internships in your area, I would look at an inner city hospital that's a level one trauma center where they staff OR 247 so you don't have to be on call. Then they usually don't care where you live. If not, I would network network network!! See if there is any other way you can get it. Good luck!!!
    Blue Cat likes this.
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    Thank you for your advice txgrl2010. It's very encouraging, and while it wouldn't be ideal for me to look at an inner city hospital, I will go that route if I have to.

    Blue
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    Hi Blue:

    Ok, First let me say that I've been in the O.R. for about 15 years (give or take) Most of that has been as a scrub tech. I went back to school about 3 yrs ago and got my RN license. When I graduated, I naturally went into the O.R. With my experience as a scrub, I was perfect for the position...or so I thought. So from someone who is in the same shoes as you are, here is some sage advise I wish someone had given me.

    What you need to do is to get a regular med surg position (you know, taking care of patients on the floor like you did in Clinicals) But I want to be in the O.R. you say...So here is WHY you need to be a "Floor" nurse FIRST! As a new grad, you are taking baby steps so to speak, regardless of how good you were as a student. You NEED to FIRST learn to be a nurse. That requires you to practice assessments, time management, giving meds, lab values etc. All the basic critical thinking skills you will need as a nurse. Second, you need to refresh your Surg Tech skills. I would recommend a surgical tech school for that of at least 11 months to 1 year in duration that is accredited or you can get a job as a surg tech. or take the certification exam for scrub techs.

    I recommend that you keep working on the floor as a staff nurse for 2 years. You need to be able to automatically look at labs and know when they are off, or dangerous. You also need to know medications and which ones react to each other and so on. You also need to organize your time and nothing will help with that than taking 5 patients on the floor. I didn't understand at first why this was necessary, but having been in both roles in the operating room now, I understand that you need at least one year of nursing experience under your belt before considering a nursing job in the operating room.

    Some hospitals offer a peri-operative 101 course, but that is very basic and is meant for people who have NO previous operating room exposure. I wish I had worked on the floor for a year, it would've made my transition easier. It is also hard sometimes to remember what is a scrub tech role and what is a nurse role. If you are lucky to get an awesome preceptor, you won't find it too hard, but the realities of the O.R. are anything but. I don't have to tell you how cut throat the O.R. can be, and believe me, I've worked in wonderful O.R's too. You need to be fast, complete your assessment of the patient quickly and also set up the room quickly. As the nurse in the room, you will be doing a lot more that you did as a tech. So if this is really where you want to be, do it right and work on the floor for a year before you consider going back to the O.R. you will save yourself a lot of headaches later.

    Cherston1
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    I got hired in the or as a new grad. My hospital hires a lot of new grads. If the OR is where your heart is. DON'T go to the floor and work med Surg. My heart was really in labor and delivery from the start but took the job in the OR as I previously went to Surg tech school. But never worked as a Surg tech. You are definitely marketable because of your tech experience. Most ORs like to hire fresh with no prior experience so they can mold you. I've been in the OR for almost a year and a half and finally got a job in L&D. I start in a couple weeks. Moral of the story. Go where your heart it. Don't do me Surg or floor work if you don't want to. If you are in the position to go where you want to be then do it. My advice apply apply apply and follow up with nurse recruiter and explain ur or experience. I have no doubt you will get in somewhere. Downfall. I work in a level 1 trauma hospital and had to take 10 calls per 6 week period. The hours were sweet 5 (8)s but the call was heavy. I'm so happy to go to 3 (12)s with no call and be where my heart is. I've had people tell me don't do specialty nursing do the floor first but I don't want to be there and neither do you so go for it. And sell yourself to the recruiters. Good luck!
    SE_BSN_RN and prnqday like this.


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