Before you sign up for the internship I would suggest shadowing an OR nurse. I was a NICU nurse for seven years before I started a periop. 101 course at the same hospital. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Don't get me wrong, I love my job now but it isn't for everyone. A lot of the new grads have dropped out and even some of the experienced RNs. We have done 4 classes with 18 total nurses and half are gone within 3 months to two years. They are going to want to know that you understand the role of the circulating nurse. The role of the circulator first and foremost is to be the patients advocate. You speak for the patient when they are not able to. You will set up the OR with equipment/correct bed, set up the sterile field with the scrub person and count the instruments/sponges/etc., you will run around like your hair is on fire when you realize that they did not send the correct trays of instruments, you will also tweek the room with the surgeons "preferences" or whims in regards to every possible thing (temperature, music, where the draw sheet is on the bed, instruments), then when you only have 30 seconds before the case starts you will go see the pt. You will do a pre-op interview, check the chart, sign consents that you are legally responsible for, give pre-op antibiotics within the allotted time, all while anesthesiologist is trying to push the stretcher down the hall because you are taking to long. Oh yeah and most of the time you don't have the paperwork you need to legally go to the room but you will catch hell if you point out to the surgeon that he/she needs to sign this or that. Then you get to the room and help the patient to the OR table and assist anesthesiologist with induction and intubation. Then positioning ( which can take more than an hour and sometimes you will actually TAPE the patient to the OR table), prepping, and draping. You plug in the equipment/suction/bovie and do a time out simultaneously while delivering fluids and meds to the sterile field and anything else that was forgotten. You will finally sit down to start a mountain of paperwork and will have to run for a suture or scratch someone's nose. When procedure is done you will assist with dressings, extubation, and transfer to PACU. Now you have one half hour from the time the wheels of the stretcher leave the room to the new patient arrives to do it all again!
I know this is a long and oversimplified description of a circulators job! I should mention that I love my job and the OR is a funny, crazy, silly, infuriating, frustrating place to work. But once your in your in and you will be a part of an amazing family. You are not just caring for one patient, you are taking care of the surgeon, scrub, anesthesia, and thinking about the next ten cases all at once. You are constantly assessing and evaluating. Some people say we are glorified gophers but they are not doing their jobs correctly.