Depends on how the facility is set up, but for most programs you do the training for each area, and then can pick where you would like to stay the most. Provided that the service that you want has an opening. You get cross-training so that you can cover in those other areas when you are on-call or are working a scheduled weekend, etc. Or just to finish up a case, etc.
I have also seen facilities where they train you only for one service and you never work the others. You literally belong to that one service and never, ever float to another service.
I am currently in a 6-month OR internship just finishing our first month. For the next two months, we will be alternating between classroom work and being in the OR in various services or "pods" as our hospital calls them.
Towards the end of our orientation, we will spend 2 weeks in each pod and then put down our top 3 choices. Some interns have said they will pick by shift and not pod, so they will simply request the pod with that particular shift. There are no 3 12's offered at our OR. The only nurses who work 3 12's a week have been there a long time. Typically it is 5 days/week either 7a-3p or 11a-7p. In the last group of interns, for example, ortho was the only pod with a 7a-3p slot, and CT was 9a-7p 4days/wk, neuro 11a-7p, etc.
I'm going for the people and service I like best. I'll don't care about the shift as much as the others, although I understand it's easier for me with no children. Plus, I figure I can switch to a different shift down the road. I'd much rather be in an environment I enjoy and click with the people rather than purely going for the shift.
Also, I think for the interns who get CT, they will spend an extra 2 weeks in that service training before being completely on their own.
[font="book antiqua"]i did sort of choose - they were desperate for people on a few teams, and i chose the one where i liked the people. i like most kinds of surgery, so that really wasn't going to be an issue. people that you spend 8-12 hours with, every single day, is what's really going to make or break you. in reality, when on-call, you have to be able to scrub or circulate just about any kind of case, so that gives me plenty of variety. if i had to get down to brass-tacks, i'd choose plastics/burns/maxillo-facial surgery as my favorite kinds, but right now i'm on the thoracic team. what's great about nursing is the ability to learn from each kind of situation, and apply it to the next...and when i get tired of thoracic, i will do just that.
We had the option of choosing, but we also had the option to float. I decided "float". I'm in a different specialty everyday, and i like that, it keeps my skills sharp, becausei want to avoid being one of the people on call at our hospital that's BEEN there for 20 years and says "i don't know how to do thaaaaaat" in an emergency (sorry, that's my peeve).
I'm on the "advanced" ortho team now, for hemi and total arthroplasties, spines, complicated fractures, etc. I precept in all specialties.