Can you work as a Pre op nurse with an ADN degree instead of BSN?

  1. Hi fellow pacu nurses
    Hey i was wondering what does it take to be a Pre op nurse? Im a LVN working in the field and recently my mom had eye surgery done last week. I love how the pacu nurses were so sweet and attended of my mom. It made me realize i want to work in the future as a pre op nurse. Of course i would need to go back to school to get my RN but i wanted to know if i can work in this field with just an ADN or do hospitals or outpatient surgery clinics hired with an BSN? Also is it hard to get those positions? When they look at your resume, do they look for any special skills or specialty they want for this field?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Rose_Queen
    The ADN or BSN isn't universal- you would need to see what the facilities in your area are requiring. Also, you keep intermingling preop and PACU- which area do you want to work in? In many facilities, they are two distinct units. I'd also be sure to keep an open mind in school- you may find another specialty that calls to you.
  4. by   brownbook
    What field of nursing are you working in now? The ambulatory out patient surgery clinic I work in has several LVN's working in PACU.

    PACU is the recovery area where patients go after their surgical procedure. Pre op is where patients are admitted to the surgery clinic, an IV is started, in the case of cataract surgeries eye drops are given. Some nurses float back and forth to both areas.

    A few, (rare) LVN's work pre-op but they are mainly used in PACU.

    Check out ambulatory surgery clinics now with your LVN degree. You may not get hired but you will learn what they offer, if they hire LVN's, what experience they prefer their LVN's or RN's to have.

    Out patient surgery is a fun, in many ways easy, area to work with great hours. For that reason in may be hard to get a job there. Go for your RN degree, keep your options open. As Rose Queen said you may find other areas of nursing just as interesting.
  5. by   Rocio8809
    I guess its pre op . I thought PACU consisited of pre op as well since i usually get them mixed up. Thank you do much for the info.
  6. by   Rocio8809
    Wow that sounds awesome. You been very helpful. Im actually workin in a school right now part time and apply for a pediatric home health position and still waiting for response. Im gonna definely check out ambulatory surgery centers to see if they have any LVN positions in PACU. From what i been searching many places they first asked for at least a year in PACU experience for pre op positions.
  7. by   Kooky Korky
    PACU = Recovery Room = Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (after surgery) However, lots of places locate Pre--OP physically in the Recovery Room.

    Pre-Op = start the IV, get the History, make sure pt is NPO, get the Physical exam done by Anesthesia and/or Surgical Resident/Surgeon, make sure permits are signed, armbands on, this sort of thing.

    Honestly, no one needs a degree of any kind IMO to work these areas, but the trend is for a degree of some sort to be required for Nursing these days. On the job training is no longer enough, it seems.

    The degree (presence of, type) is an age old debate. I personally see no reason an LPN can't work in either area.

    I guess you should check with each employer to see what degree they require, if any.
  8. by   Joel001
    As an LPN in NYC I work in an ambulatory orthopedic surgery center. I am the only LPN at my center and we have a mix of ADN-RN older nurse and ADN-RN nurses in school for their BSN. Private surgery center don't care about ADN or BSN. These type of centers are great for older and new nurses. I do admission (pre-op) with the RN in the room. I like this area best. I get to interview the patient: look at their health and history report, verify that the surgeon went over the consent form with the patient, and then make sure the anesthesiologist speaks with the patient prior to surgery. The final step is when the operating room nurse interviews the patient, checks the paper work, surgery site and takes the patient to the OR.
    In the recovery room I am limited to the skills that I can perform on the patient. I can help the RN connect the patients to the monitors. I can assist with positioning the patient and write down their vital signs in their medical record. Since their medications are administered through an IV line I cannot administer medications.
    Patient teaching is done by the RN but I can reinforce the teaching once the patient comes to the phase 2 of the recovery which is when they are stable, eating and ready to go home. If the patient is still in pain in phase 2 I can administer a PO pain medication.
    I like pre-op and post-op but after doing it for 3 years and recently upgrading to RN I think it's time to move to the operating room.
    Last edit by Joel001 on Jul 27
  9. by   kelleyk1991
    I'm an ADN RN. I work in pre op as well as phase II recovery. We only hire RNs but it doesn't matter if it's ADN or BSN.
  10. by   azhiker96
    Either degree will work depending on the employer. Most of the major employers in Phoenix are hiring only BSN so I'd opt for that if you have the time and money. It will give you more flexibility down the road.

    Preop typically does not require critical care, especially for outpatient clinics. PACUs generally require critical care experience because depending on anesthesia you may be given a patient with an advanced airway. You'll be expected to manage the airway and discontinue it when appropriate. Once people are breathing on their own then life gets much better. Give a little narcotic, something to drink, discharge instructions and send them on their merry way.

    In the inpatient setting you get everything from minor surgery outpatients to vented patients with drips. It is a lot of fun, demanding, rewarding, and sometimes a wee bit scary. I love it and there is no place I'd rather be.
  11. by   HeySis
    I see I'm really late in the game to comment, but will put my two cents in anyway.

    My hospital hires very few LPN's, the position states RN required BSN preferred. The have also established a new policy that nay new RN hires will have to get their BSN in a specific number of years (i didn't really pay attention since it didn't effect me, but I think it was six) from hire. Those already hired with ADN would not be required, but could receive tuition reimbursement. In two years those that do not get their BSN will no longer be able to be charge nurses.

    So we have no LPN's in our PACU or Pre-op areas. But it seems to vary by state/region, number of new grads, employment rates... etc.

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