What qualities are most needed for an OR RN?

  1. I was just curious about what qualities would be beneficial in the OR. Would the OR be a more structured setting than a med/surg floor? What is the day in the life of an OR nurse like?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Pam RN
    The OR is most definitely a more structured environment then a MS floor. The autonomy is less since you are part of a team to get the surgery done. Each member has their role, but each part is essential. We start our day getting the room ready for our first surgery by laying all the supplies, instruments, medications, etc out in the room. Just basically preparting what we need. Once the patient is in the room you want to leave the room as little as possible. Surgeons are a different breed and you have to be able to do what needs to get done and shyness or being timid is not a trait that will last long in the OR. Not all the doctors are jerks, but some are. Once you are part of a team they all know you and it can be fun. You have to like to work with equipment because you will need to know how to trouble shoot in certain situations. For example, during laparoscopic surgery you have to move towers of video equipment, plug in cords, take pictures, print pictures, etc. You have to not mind that your patient is aleep most of the time in the room. Some nurses don't like that they don't have interaction with their patients. The patients are awake for a short time before anesthesia and it is a very important time for comforting them. You have to be able to lift heavy trays of instruments, be able to bend down and crawl on the floor to move (surprize!) more equiment like foot pedals, passing cords, etc. If you like that there is a beginning, a middle and an end, then that's the OR. It's definitely a different environment and work pace then the floor or unit. Either you like it or you don't.
  4. by   angel03
    Quote from Pam RN
    The OR is most definitely a more structured environment then a MS floor. The autonomy is less since you are part of a team to get the surgery done. Each member has their role, but each part is essential. We start our day getting the room ready for our first surgery by laying all the supplies, instruments, medications, etc out in the room. Just basically preparting what we need. Once the patient is in the room you want to leave the room as little as possible. Surgeons are a different breed and you have to be able to do what needs to get done and shyness or being timid is not a trait that will last long in the OR. Not all the doctors are jerks, but some are. Once you are part of a team they all know you and it can be fun. You have to like to work with equipment because you will need to know how to trouble shoot in certain situations. For example, during laparoscopic surgery you have to move towers of video equipment, plug in cords, take pictures, print pictures, etc. You have to not mind that your patient is aleep most of the time in the room. Some nurses don't like that they don't have interaction with their patients. The patients are awake for a short time before anesthesia and it is a very important time for comforting them. You have to be able to lift heavy trays of instruments, be able to bend down and crawl on the floor to move (surprize!) more equiment like foot pedals, passing cords, etc. If you like that there is a beginning, a middle and an end, then that's the OR. It's definitely a different environment and work pace then the floor or unit. Either you like it or you don't.
    :angel2::angel2:Or nursing is not like any other kind of nursing care...our time is very limited with the awake patient and the patient will not even remember the comfort measures we provide them but it is extremly important to always remember our most important job in the OR is to be that patient's advocate...we watch and listen for everything ....we make sure that the surgeon and scrb have all the necessary equiptment to make the case flow smoothly...It is very techinical and physically demanding...but I love it I've been a OR nurse for over 20 years.....
  5. by   stevierae
    Quote from Pam RN
    The OR is most definitely a more structured environment then a MS floor. The autonomy is less since you are part of a team to get the surgery done. .
    "The autonomy is LESS?" :uhoh21:

    How do you figure? The circulator is in charge of the ROOM--you are expected (and you had BETTER, otherwise you don't belong in an operating room) to make patient care decisions quickly, using experience, education and critical thinking skills as well as gut instinct, and not have to run for the policy and procedure manual or ask "the desk" how to proceed. This is why most of us are IN the OR, and why we STAY in the OR--we are confident enough in our abilities to make patient care decisons unassisted, and we appreciate the autonomy we are given to do so. On the med-surg floor, an RN couldn't even put TEDs or SCDs on a patient without getting an order. In the OR, it's a nursing decision, in the interest of optimal patient care--and prevention of DVT and possible PE. Our judgment is respected and trusted.

    And structured--no, I don't agree with this either. The OR is probably the most fun place to work in the hospital. (Shhhh--it's a secret--don't tell, or everybody will want in...) Cases, for the most part, are repetitious, and truth be told can be pretty damned boring--so, most OR environments where I have worked are pretty kick back and sociable in the rooms. We know what we are doing, so we don't have a need to make a huge production out of something we have done hundreds of times before and will do hundreds more times. We also know each other pretty darned well--whereas, on the floors, things can be pretty superficial.

    I've worked with people who say they came from ORs where they couldn't even TALK in the rooms--because some tighta** manager felt that talking would contribute to post-op infections due to droplet spread--that old sacred cow--I would rather die than have to work in a miserable environment like that.

    Also--our role before and during induction involves a lot more than simply "comforting" our patients. Our role is standing directly next to anesthesia and assisting with induction, starting an IV, giving drugs, or masking if necessary, and essentially acting as a right hand to anesthesia, especailly if something goes wrong. Soemtimes I see new circulators who walk aroud the room during induction, or count, or are running in and out of the room getting fluids or instruments from the flash or the core, or are at the counter charting, or seem to feel that their only role is to hold the patient's hand--and I have to wonder--were they never taught to set priorities? Were they never taught that their place during induction is up there assisting anesthesia, and they should remain there until he has the tube taped in place, breath sounds and ventilation and end tidal CO2 are within normal parameters, and he gives them the go ahead to leave?
    Last edit by stevierae on Aug 13, '04
  6. by   mare-mare
    Stevierae, you are sooo kick-***!!
  7. by   mcmike55
    I agree, Stevierae, you just need to let go and express yourself!!! :chuckle
    I totally agree with you, OR is absolutly the best job in the hospital! The hours are long, my feet and legs hurt, and who in their right mind really admits to like being on call.
    But you do have to have that "give me the ball" attitude. I want to take care of that critical pt. Not because I will likely be running my a$$ off, etc, but, because I think I am the nurse that can help that pt make it through.
    Pam, you do have a point. A circulator is one of the bigger picture. I my hospital, there is a Md anesthesiologist, a RN, and a scrub tech. A student asked me, who's most important. Good question. I think that we all together are important. The doc couldn't do his job without me or the tech. I couldn't complete my job without either of them either.
    We are, absolutely the pt's advocate. Something I think people forget at times. When the doc want to do additional procedures, etc, we must be there for the pt. We must strive to provide the best care we can.
    The OR can be a really funny place to work as well. We must keep a sense of humor, or we really would go nuts.
    The OR is a very structured environment. The type of work we do demands that. Yes, we really don't know what type of case we will be doing next, but we do have time to prepare. I sometime help in ED, you almost never get that there.
    I like being on the "front line" doing hands on, one on one. I like seeing the best and worst of the docs I work with, they see me at my best and worst too!!
    I really like working in emergency, but OR is my home!!!!
  8. by   Audreyfay
    I worked in the OR years ago. The only reason I left it was because I ended up moving. The OR staff really became my family and I loved it. Admittedly so, they are cliquey with people outside of the OR. However, they are very supportive of their team. And indeed, they are a team. A well-oiled masterpiece that is something to behold. My hats off to you OR professionals. I miss it.
  9. by   armyrn
    Quote from Audreyfay
    I worked in the OR years ago. The only reason I left it was because I ended up moving. The OR staff really became my family and I loved it. Admittedly so, they are cliquey with people outside of the OR. However, they are very supportive of their team. And indeed, they are a team. A well-oiled masterpiece that is something to behold. My hats off to you OR professionals. I miss it.
    Come back anytime you want!
  10. by   Ferret
    Sense of humour, ability to handle stress and think fast in an emergency, good technical skills, teamwork, and really be a jack of all trades. Be able to stand up to a senior consultant Professor and tell them that you're CERTAIN that there's a swab left in the operative site....

    Have Fun!
    Ferret 8^)

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