What do OR nurses do all day? - page 2

I am sorry to you dedicated OR nurses who use this board for serious topics but I had no where to turn. Usually I do my posts on the student forums, because I'm a second semester student in an ADN... Read More

  1. by   Owensaunt
    I don't know about anyone else but I sit around, eat bon bons and file my nails all day. What a question. If you really are interested get a TEXT book like Alexanders Surgical Nursing, go to a nursing career fair at a hospital and talk to the OR people. Don't assume that our job is easy. You have a patient that you care for who is unable to speak for themselves because you've sedated them and stick a breathing tube down their throat, babysit the doctors (especially residents) and try to keep everyone from doing ANYTHING that will harm your patient.
  2. by   druse
    Before I graduated I volunteered at an operating room for two weeks, wrote a report and earned one college credit for my time. I did gain some really good insight to what the role of a nurse was in the OR and decided that's what I wanted to do. I am so glad I spent that time.
  3. by   grimmy
    Quote from melissarn
    i've been working as an or circulating nurse for about 9 months. my orientation was long (about 6 months) and i still feel like a rookie. i think that being able to function in any kind of capacity as a circulator after 6 months is a huge accomplishment. we're basically learning 20+ years of technological advancements in that short amount of time. it's not an easy job and you're basically all things to everyone from the patient, surgeon, the scrub to the anesthsia team.

    if the role of the nurse circulator looks easy it's because there are nurses that have been dedicated to the job for 20+ years and they work hard to make it all run smoothly and have a lot of patience with us newbies.

    oh and let's not forget those old school surgeons that feel that the best way to teach a newbie is to yell, rant and rave at them!! :chuckle

    [font=book antiqua]totally cool! me, too...i've just finished my 6 month orientation/mentorship. for the next month i'm on "protected" status, meaning i have backup if necessary. i agree that 6 months is a good amount of time to orient, but i'm only sorry i didn't scrub more.

    to answer the question (there was a question? ) i think or nursing is just awesome, and i love going to work everyday. as opposed to a lot of the replies you've gotten so far, i work at a very large teaching hospital, with nearly 30 ors, not including sds (same day surgery). for the next 6 months, i'll be floating through the various services (what we term specialties of the or), being placed where needed. quite a few others belong to a team (ent, ortho, neuro, ortho/spine, gyn, gu, plastics, etc.) and are usually aware of where they'll be the next day. where i work, rns must be able to scrub and circulate. imho, i think that's the best situation.

    typically, i arrive a bit before 7am, change into scrubs, and get to my room around 7. i check the log for the day, and start looking at the case carts. if i'm circulating, i confer with my scrub (rn or cst) to make sure the appropriate equipment is available, functioning properly, and in the room. i set up the computer documentation, and then go out to do the preop interview. i meet up with the anesthesia provider (typically an anesthesia resident or a crna) during preop. after the interview (which others have already described) i stop by the pharmacy and get the typical meds necessary for the case. during this time, the scrub has been setting up the tables.
    by the time i usually return to the room, i help the scrub to open up the sterile supplies, count, provide fluids for case, document the preop, and confer with the surgical residents and/or attending. by this time (if not before) anesthesia has the patient wheeled in. i assist the patient to the or table, provide warm blankets, and strap them onto the table for safety. (if you get nothing out of this little diatribe, get this: patient safety is our main focus - or at least, its mine. ) by this point, anesthesia is preparing either to intubate (which is most typical) or provide monitored anesthesia. i assist anesthesia during these processes. after successful intubation, i assist with positioning, placement of electrocautery ground pads, insert foley (if necessary), put on scds, and do a time out. this is a safety precaution where i state the patient's full name, the procedure, and specific location of the procedure, indicated by the physician's preop marking. everyone must agree, or everything stops until we do agree. where i work, the residents usually prep the operative site, but i know how to do it when necessary. i assist gowning and gloving. i document...i prepare equipment setups...i document, provide meds...did i say document? depending on the case, i procure implants, assist the implant reps...and document.

    now...depending on the case, positioning can take 2 minutes or 45 minutes. it is one of the most critical things i do. people are left in a certain position for 10 minutes or 10 hours. imagine what happens when someone is up in stirrups, tilted backwards, arms out...for 10 hours? big potential for serious problems.

    this is a fair glimpse into or nursing. i barely touched scrubbing, which is a fine art all to itself. knowing the instrumentation, how to hand instruments safely and effectively, having acute hearing when surgeons mumble into the incision, eagle-eyes when the room is dark, and how to anticipate...geez! it can be challenging. unlike most units, we work with physicians...intimately. we get close, physically, we learn what they like and don't like, etc. some are perennially grouchy, some are easy to be with. you need a thick skin.
    but...i love it. i can't imagine being anywhere else. ok, veterans...what did i miss?
  4. by   LadyT618
    Thanks Grimmy!!! Very thorough description of what you do. I know it's an old thread, but I thought I'd let you know someone appreciated your long description. I'm a new grad (6 months) and am now looking to get into perioperative nursing. Had the HR interview and interview with the head of the residency program. Next interview scheduled for after the new year.

    Thanks again.
  5. by   SFCardiacRN
    [quote=Owensaunt]I don't know about anyone else but I sit around, eat bon bons and file my nails all day.
    Some days are so hectic I end up filing my bon bons and eating my nails!
  6. by   LadyT618
    [QUOTE=SFCardiacRN]
    Quote from Owensaunt
    I don't know about anyone else but I sit around, eat bon bons and file my nails all day.
    Some days are so hectic I end up filing my bon bons and eating my nails!

    :chuckle :chuckle
  7. by   Sarah, RNBScN
    Report to desk by 07:00 hrs. We are assigned our room and role (circulator or scrub) for the day 07 - 15 hrs. If you are the circulator, you must pull in all your cases and your scrub will set them up for the day. The scrub nurse brings the anethetist cart into the room. By 07:45 you should be finsihed. The circulator goes to the holding area to pick up the first pt. If your scrub nurse, you can go and have your break and report back to the room by 08:00 hrs. The circulator's role is to go and get the pt. checks the consent, etc...The scrub nurse is to dismantle her set up (remove all sharps) and assist the cleaning staff to get the room clean and ready for the next OR case.

    We also have a float nurse whose job is to pull cases for the next day and check them accordingly to the list. The float nurse is to relief the circulator for coffee and lunch breaks after they have had theirs.

    Does this answer your question?

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