What Do Operating Room Nurses Do? - page 11

I'm here to set the record straight. I am as much a RN as the next nurse and I do patient care. Operating Room Nurses assess, diagnose, plan, intervene, and evaluate their patients just like every... Read More

  1. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from Wheaties
    great article. Im a little confused. So does 1 nurse follow the same patient from preop to surgery to post-op? I'm looking for a change in nursing jobs. Worked in acute bedside nursing m/s tele. I only had 1 day in OR as a nursing student. And I didn't understand it, except that it consisted of preop, operation/surgery, post-op

    i want to work in the OR but I don't know what my role will be. There's OR job openings that I'm eyeing but the job description is vague. It's described just like a tele, ER, med-surg job, step down etc... job opening. will it be preop, surgery, post op. There's also pacu job openings and is that basically the same as post op?
    I've only ever seen it where a nurse works the shift in one area, either preop, intraop, or postop. In some facilities, nurses may be cross trained to work in all three areas, but they will not be responsible for one patient in all three areas. They may spend a day in preop, a couple days in the OR, a day or two in post op. In my area, those who work in more than just one area under the perioperative umbrella work in ambulatory surgery centers. In the local hospitals, nurses work in only one of the three areas. I would assume any job that states OR in the title would be specific to working only within the OR itself.
  2. by   chloebonnie
    I am an OR RN, and I have been trained to both scrub and circulate. Many nurses scrub in the facility where I work.
  3. by   2mint
    "Assessment

    The patient enters the preoperative area and is assessed by the preoperative RN...(Circulating Nurse)...informed consent...NPO...current medical hx...nurse explains to the patient what will happen during the operative phase....

    The assessment includes, but is not limited to:

    - Skin check and Respiratory status
    - Current or PMH that could affect surgical outcomes (i.e. diabetes)
    - Knowledge base r/t....i.e. informed consent
    - NPO status
    - Meds taken the morning of surgery
    - Allergies and reactions
    - Placement of any metal implants, especially AICD's and pacemakers
    - Time of last chemotherapy or radiation therapies
    - Verification of patient's name and dob and MRN"



    Wow!!! I can't believe how nice M/S nurses are, given how looked down upon they are!
    M/S nurses, you should be having a field day with this.

    OR nurses, if that list is what you call "assessment" , then here's my grading:

    From K-12 (again, I repeat, based on that list):

    OR: grade 3, by mentioning skin/respy bumps you up to a solid Grade 6
    M/S: Sophomore
    ICU: Junior, d/t needing to be aware of the intricacies
    ER: Senior, they do this day in and day out, with a bunch of liars thrown in no less

    To OR nurses without non-OR nursing experience, when MS/ER/ICU nurses use the term 'assessment', we refer to "patient" assessment, not "paper" assessment .

    *I'm in M/S. I float to ER and Obs about 4-5 times a month.
  4. by   FJW&ADP
    "Holds the patient's hand." I think that is not a nurses job. In fact, I think that is borderline unethical for a nurse to provide emotional support. They are their to do a job, not to become emotionally involved.

    If if someone needs a support person, I think a support person, not someone on the hospital payroll should be with the patient.
  5. by   SQueenRN
    Umm.... really?
  6. by   cdsga
    Are you a nurse? Does compassion care empathy allying fears mean anything to you?
  7. by   FJW&ADP
    I'm, yes. Compassionate care does mean a lot to me! And in the past I have always thought it to be very important to comfort the patient.

    However, recently both my husband and nephew, age 14 had surgery. I thought both went really well and especially in my husband's experience thought that our nursing staff was awesome! I couldn't have done it better myself. But we were having a family gathering and my husband started talking about his surgery, at which point my nephew chimed in.

    Both th men and 16 years apart in age. My husband felt like the nurse was more concerned with comforting him than honoring his wishes. Once back in the step down unit (I did not know this at the time), but he had asked for me. The nurse never came and got me. Then my husband asked to be left alone, probably because I have always known him to want some time to himself to reflect and apparently she would not leave his side. This made me have him request the medical records to see if there was any complications and he had an alderate score of 10 upon arrival in the PACU.

    As with my nephew, he described not wanting someone that was a stranger to him to hold his hand. He said the nurse kept saying how brace he was and how adorable he was, which again, I think are nice things, but it made him feel weird. He jokingly said if he doesn't let his mom talk like that to him he doesn't want some strange lady saying that to him and holding his hand and he said she actually rubbed or patted his shoulder .

    I think with some male male patients in particular we have to remember that in these situations of unknown and stress, we still have to let them feel like men. And men can embarrass more easily.

    After hearing their points of view I do think it is worth a discussion regarding ethics if a female nurse should comfort or hold a male patients hand if we in the medical field could easily allow a mother or wife that role instead and focus solely on being objective with our assessments and checking vitals.
  8. by   SQueenRN
    Hmm but a mother or wife cannot be in the operating room with a patient as they are going to sleep. This is a scary and foreign experience for people. I'm there to ensure their safety and comfort.
  9. by   FJW&ADP
    Agreed. But for some patients, which I myself did not even think about until my husband and nephew were talking about their personally experience, don't find comfort in a stranger holding their hand.

    I think you have to ve to read the patients non verbal cues. For some, holding hands or a stranger Doug other more person emotional comforts makes them feel vulnerable and less safe than the nurse who is very mechanical.

    And as my husband and nephew described they both would have wanted some familiar face to be with them especially in recovery or the PACU then a strange nurse.

    I think our our profession requires us to somewhat understand patients wishes as well as hospital policy.

    I think we need to be more forward thinking and understand that a patient will recover ill recover and heal faster if family is allowed to be there for emotional support and comfort and nurses are more mechanical and their for assessments and safety.
  10. by   cdsga
    Instead of strapping arms or wrists tot the armboards we hold hands to keep the muscle relaxant and fasciculations from causing their arm to flop off and keep them secure until after they are asleep. Males are usually stoic and many will not show fear until they get ready to go to sleep you can tell by the way they hold their breath frown grit their teeth etc. Talking.g to them holding their hand many times makes things easier. You bring up a point though that everyone should honor wishes and we do try to do what we can.
  11. by   Happylady123
    I feel like your comments gave a much better view about what an OR nurse does. I have to admit that after reading the article, I was thinking, "That's it?" It seemed so basic. Your comments showed how a nursing background and understanding helps you save lives in the OR. Thank you for taking the time to write this.
  12. by   PositiveVibesRN
    Quote from cdsga
    OR nursing is about more than skills. Someone asked me one day about patient advocacy in the OR while the patient has no recall of the nurse(s) who cared for them while they were anesthetized. Being a patient advocate in the OR is about ensuring that you do your job well. What does that mean? Think about putting on a play. You can't have a good play without a script or props or actors can you? That's what nurses do. They make sure that your properly safely working props are in order, you make sure that the actors in the room are credentialed, assigned correctly, if not you ensure that extra safeguards are there to make it work for the case and the patient, you communicate, collaborate, inspect, safeguard, then do the patient care skills that are required for you to do.
    You keep a little bit of stage fright for every case, so that you do your best-expecting and anticipating that things can and will go wrong. There is no complacency.
    When you meet the patient-their loved ones, you allay fears, you explain what's going to happen, what you will be doing, know the case, what's going to happen, quickly study the diagnostic or elective choice reasoning behind the procedure, review the diagnostic results, know the pertinent drugs, what the patient takes, how to mix and administrate them, you defend the rights of the patient that you have come to know in a very short period of time. You monitor aseptic technique. and on and on it goes.
    I cannot imagine when the conscience of a room goes to solely non-nursing personnel-the respect and care for the patient declines and all goes to saving money, time and disregarding proper guidelines.
    Fortunately or unfortunately-we are also scribe who document correctly and concisely about the procedure, personnel, supplies, drugs and solutions used. Why? We are the ones legally required to do so--why?? because the document and the patient are the only ones who will recall the outcomes. Anesthesia documentation has it's own set of guidelines. We help them remember too.
    Nursing is the most trusted profession year after year because nurses care. They care without judgement of the person. They care about their contribution to the surgical outcome of the patient as well as personal pride in their quality of skill-sets.
    God help us all when the conscience of the care goes away. It takes more than properly putting in an IV or foley-or if a nurse is judged on how quickly they can turn a room over. But only one who embraces the art and science of nursing and works to bring the two together to know how challenging and rewarding that can be. That takes time and commitment to the craft.
    I COULD NOT HAVE SAID THIS BETTER MYSELF!!!
    AGREE WITH THIS A THOUSAND PERCENT!!

    I'm a new OR Nurse and this gives me hope, pride, and fuels my passion for the OR. I'm going to print your post and place it in our OR as a reminder. True responsibility and skill of OR Nurses.
  13. by   confettireads
    BethCNOR, I cannot thank you enough for this information. I am a new graduate nurse preparing for two OR interviews in the coming week, and this about sums up what I learned in the perioperative elective from nursing school. Let's hope for a good outcome!

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