OR circulating nurse

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    I graduated from nursing shcool a little less than 2 years ago (RN). Have worked on a neuro floor since. Am considering a move to OR as circulating nurse. I would like to hear some pros and cons about this position. I have been told it may be a LOT to learn for someone my age (53). Do you think it would be a fairly safe bet that if I passed nursing school recently that I could learn this? Any input appreciated!

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  2. 5 Comments...

  3. 2
    Quote from forest2525
    I graduated from nursing shcool a little less than 2 years ago (RN). Have worked on a neuro floor since. Am considering a move to OR as circulating nurse. I would like to hear some pros and cons about this position. I have been told it may be a LOT to learn for someone my age (53). Do you think it would be a fairly safe bet that if I passed nursing school recently that I could learn this? Any input appreciated!
    It IS a lot to learn, regardless of your age. But you CAN do it. I think the best thing would be an internship or an extended orientation, if you can find one. I wish I had done it that way. I like to refer to my training as "trial by fire"
    My problem was that I learned in a little hospital learning one service (Vascular). I thought I would be able to apply that to any OR. That was a mistake! When I went to a teaching hospital, I had to learn multiple services: General, Orthopedic, Neuo, ect. Reading about a procedure from a textbook doesn't tell you everything you need to know. You need a "seasoned" OR nurse to show you the ropes. I've had some wonderful teachers.
    The cons of the job:
    It is physically demanding: there's heavy equipment to move around, lots of walking, lots of bending, lots of lifting heavy patients and can be a very fast pace.
    Surgeons can be JERKS. And you're stuck in the same room with them for hours.<sigh>
    Taking call and being available to return to work at a moment's notice. In the middle of the night. Or weekends. And STILL have to work a regular shift.
    Minimal patient interaction: There's a brief time you can talk to the patients.
    Pros of the job:
    You can hold a patient's hand just before they go off to sleep, and ease their stress a bit.
    Seeing surgeries is really cool! It's amazing what surgeons can do. You also learn why your patients on the floor hurt so badly.
    I love working with the Anesthesiologists and helping them with inductions and caring for a critically ill patient.
    The team work can be good, too. Everyone works together to provide great care for the patient.
    The OR is one of the last areas that offers 8 hour shifts.
    I hope this helps!
    If you have any questions, just ask!:spin:

    Liz
    walktheline and forest2525 like this.
  4. 0
    :yeahthat:

    I am new to the OR after working labor & delivery for four years. I agree completely. It's definitely a completely different culture. There are some days I come home and my head is spinning, but luckily, those days are getting further apart now! I surely don't miss the difficult patients and their families, or trying for hours to get someone's pain under controlled, etc.

    It's definitely possible with the right orientation.
  5. 0
    Quote from USA987
    :yeahthat:

    I am new to the OR after working labor & delivery for four years. I agree completely. It's definitely a completely different culture. There are some days I come home and my head is spinning, but luckily, those days are getting further apart now! I surely don't miss the difficult patients and their families, or trying for hours to get someone's pain under controlled, etc.

    It's definitely possible with the right orientation.
    Wow. I was a L&D nurse for 12 years before I went to the OR. Odds of!
    It does get easier after a while, doesn't it?:spin:
  6. 0
    Quote from forest2525
    I graduated from nursing shcool a little less than 2 years ago (RN). Have worked on a neuro floor since. Am considering a move to OR as circulating nurse. I would like to hear some pros and cons about this position. I have been told it may be a LOT to learn for someone my age (53). Do you think it would be a fairly safe bet that if I passed nursing school recently that I could learn this? Any input appreciated!
    Hi, I see this post was in 2007. I am 47 and a new grad RN (Kudos to you doing it at 50!). I have interviewed for a med surg position, and a position as a circulating nurse in the OR.. I am very intrigued by the OR position, and the hospital does provide a 9-12 month orientation/preceptorship. I too am trying to weigh the pros and cons, and was curious as to whether you took the OR job, and if so, are you glad you did? Any feedback (from anyone) would be helpful.
    Thanks!
  7. 1
    Greetings--

    To begin with, congratulations on graduating from nursing school.

    So....OR or med/surg, eh?

    Not knowing the ins/outs of your specific facility, I will list as much as I possibly can to see if it helps, but ultimately, one must follow ones heart. Also, don't forget to make your own lists of pros/cons. The choice must feel right to you.

    The OR has call and depending on the facility, may require a 30 min response time. What this means is dressed and ready in 30 min. If your OR doubles as an L&D surgical room, your response time may be 20 min.

    Common misconceptions about call: I cannot have a life. I cannot go shopping. I will never get any sleep. I will always get called in.

    All false.

    The OR has a single nurse to patient ratio, however, the amount of time one has to establish rapport with the patient averages 5 -10 minutes. That's it. If you thrive on face time with patients, this may be a rough point. Personally, I like my patients quiet....or asleep. Whichever comes first.

    This can either a pro or a con: Real face to face time/working time with doctors and surgeons. I enjoy their strange little quirks and bizarre personality traits as mine just happen to be more strange than theirs. lol. If a doctor yells...he yells. One must learn to let it roll off ones shoulders and most of the docs at my facility fully understand that one attracts more flies with honey than with vinegar, so to speak.

    The OR is not for the feint of heart or thin of skin. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there really should be no crying in the OR. Never give them the satisfaction. They are not worth your tears. This applies to treatment by doctors, and, heaven help us all, staff members. Yes, the nurses can be worse than the docs.

    Personally, I find the one thing that makes them insane and make it a point to do it. Yes, I'm demented and passive aggressive. I've made peace with that.

    The OR can feel very task oriented and it is easy to get sucked into the feeling of being a glorified go-fer. Not to say that such is not part of the job, but the same type of thing can be said for med/surg nursing as one being a glorified pill dispenser. It's all about which seems more tolerable, I guess.

    Let's see...I'm really trying to think of what else I can tell you, but, for the most part, either you like the OR, or you don't.

    I'm more than happy to chat this over. If you can think of anything specific to ask, please do not hesitate to do so.

    ::shrugs:: I blame my idiocy on the lack of decent wine.

    Kindest Regards.


    P.S.

    There is a little more info that I have rambled in other posts found by searching the following:

    "Has anyone ever seen a surgery?"

    "ICU to OR, any advice?"

    P.P.S.

    Age ain't nothin' but a number.
    Future ScorpioRN likes this.


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