What Do Operating Room Nurses Do? - page 11

by BethCNOR | 186,895 Views | 109 Comments

The RN specializing in Perioperative Nursing practice performs nursing activities in the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases of the patients' surgical experience. Based on the Standards and Recommended... Read More


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    It is hard to pass judgement on nurses on the OR who may leave someone exposed for a period of time while attending to others. It takes a strong patient advocate to put the needs of the MD's and others on the team behind the patient. Each nurse is different and must explain their rationale for doing things in the manner they do. While it may seem inappropriate, we don't know all the particulars. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback in these forums.
    cryingsky and rubichick like this.
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    I read this entire forum thread over a couple of days. I am an OR RN. All I wanted to say is how laughable this whole thread is; I can't understand why or how nurses compete with other nurses and feel the need to justify why nurses choose to have certain roles. It's just absolutely ridiculous. It's like a group of squabbling, grumpy old female nurses in the break room ******** about this and that. Who the hell cares about my job and why I chose to do it? That's the beauty of nursing, there are SO many areas and fields we can go into. Did anyone ever think maybe OR RNs like being in the OR because they DON'T want to work the floors? There is something for everyone out there and there's absolutely no reason to analyze the living hell out of it and waste so much time and energy trying to defend and justify it! It's so silly, really I couldn't stop reading this thread because it was just so stupid, like watching a train wreck. I really don't care what other nurses think of me and I don't spend my free time obsessing over what other nurses do in their roles. Everyone needs to stop it and appreciate the fact that nursing has such a varied, wide area of opportunity and there's a field/role/specialty for everyone. Spend your time wondering how you can improve YOURSELF
    and not berating others!
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    OR nursing...longest orientation of any specialty (6 months-1 year). Longer than ER, longer than ICU. I've already chimed in on this discussion so I won't again. 😷. Come play with me in the OR, no come float to the OR from the floor...lol.

    MereSanity BSN, RN, CNOR
    schnookimz and ICUman like this.
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    Quote from mikez6868
    I don't agree with some types of nursing BUT I don't insult them either..

    I also don't know why some folks feel it's ok to insult other types of nursing...
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    Quote from MereSanity
    OR nursing...longest orientation of any specialty (6 months-1 year). Longer than ER, longer than ICU. I've already chimed in on this discussion so I won't again. . Come play with me in the OR, no come float to the OR from the floor...lol.

    MereSanity BSN, RN, CNOR
    I think the orientation is so long because if having to know where everything IS - not because of any particular clinical skills. The main challenge now is getting the computer entries done without holding the patient in the room. I believe that society, as a whole, would be better served by OR nurses who were trained to the specialty from the get-go. There's so much stuff they need to know to work in an OR that is not part of any nursing program and conversely, they are exposed to a lot of coursework that they don't need. It's really important work that requires people who can think on their feet, but I'm not sure it's "nursing." Surgery and anesthesia should be taking care of the patient while OR "nurses" should be taking care of the process. That process is VERY important and requires it's own body of knowledge, but nursing isn't one of them. We can do this better with people we don't have to orient for 6 mos. to a year (at the hospital's expense) and then move on to another institution. I have seen that over an over. The newly minted OR nurse should be able to circulate and scrub on the next Monday after graduation.
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    Quote from subee
    I think the orientation is so long because if having to know where everything IS - not because of any particular clinical skills. The main challenge now is getting the computer entries done without holding the patient in the room. I believe that society, as a whole, would be better served by OR nurses who were trained to the specialty from the get-go. There's so much stuff they need to know to work in an OR that is not part of any nursing program and conversely, they are exposed to a lot of coursework that they don't need. It's really important work that requires people who can think on their feet, but I'm not sure it's "nursing." Surgery and anesthesia should be taking care of the patient while OR "nurses" should be taking care of the process. That process is VERY important and requires it's own body of knowledge, but nursing isn't one of them. We can do this better with people we don't have to orient for 6 mos. to a year (at the hospital's expense) and then move on to another institution. I have seen that over an over. The newly minted OR nurse should be able to circulate and scrub on the next Monday after graduation.
    I disagree with training OR nurses from the get go. Teaching to a specialty in nursing school is only going to pigeonhole nurses into that specialty, whatever it is. Then, someone like me, who was convinced I wanted peds or OB as my career specialty will end up stuck in a specialty they dislike.

    Won't get into the whole
    OR "nurses" or "nursing"
    part of your post as you've made quite clear previously that you don't think nurses are a necessity in the OR.
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    Open heart surgery requires clinical skills TONS of them (which I have done). It depends on where you work, what you do, and how much you put into it.
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    Actually, that's not true. Sometimes RN's are a necessity. But not for the 90% of the surgeries that are bread and butter procedures. RN's who have had some floor experience are the only people in the OR who understand how a hospital works and can better assign the right person for the right procedure at the right time. The remaining 10% of the OR procedures that can be considered as complex are different animals. The process of deciding who does what in the medical world is always changing. Who thought we'd be assigned to seeing the nurse-practitioner instead of a doctor? Economics will dictate the kind of system that we have. I just don't envisaionfuture with every circulator in every OR being an RN. Hospital reimbursements will require move creative staffing to save dollars. Every skill set will be more closely scrutinized. That's why we are seeing NP's and PA's working in jobs that MD's used to do.
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    It takes more to circulate than just a "gopher"...bread and butter cases easily turn into emergencies and code blues...I want my family cared for by a nurse in those cases and not a "tech", someone trained for patient care and not mainly for how to scrub. Keep arguing though! It will make you feel better!
    Rose_Queen and ICUman like this.
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    I'm not sure who you're accusing of calling circulating nurses "gophers". I you're referring to me, please quote me on that one. Not sure how a person - let's call them a licensed "surgical" nurse - can be less qualified than someone who took a general nursing course. How is it logical that someone who went to a two year program to become a generalist can be better prepared that someone who went to college two years to become a surgical specialist who doesn't need six month to a year of orientation? After 35 years of working in all kinds of OR's, the number of serious untoward incidents are extremely low. You don't have to be a generalist trained RN to take ACLS or to be prepared for any kind of emergency. That's why they have two years of college in their specialty. And just because this new specialist learned how to scrub doesn't mean that they haveto scrub. The person who supervises them should be familiar with their job tasks. We nurses certainly would resent being supervised by a non-nurse who has no idea what we do.


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