I want to look into surgical nursing, but I'm very new to the medical field. Help?

  1. 0
    Good day to all nurses,

    My name is Emma, and I am looking into going to school for nursing.

    What I want is to become a surgical nurse. The nurses that assist in surgeries, and aid the doctors. I'm not sure which program I should be getting into. My dream is to become a trauma surgical nurse.

    I live in Los Angeles, California. I've been looking allover for a good school to go to. My family friends daughter suggested CES of Burbank (http://www.cescollege.com/) and I made an appointment for tomorrow to go check out the school. But if anyone has different schools they'd like to suggest, that would be delightful.

    My main concern is, I'm not sure which program to take for what I want to do. I went to Concorde and I almost signed up until I realized their program was for Surgical Tech. Which is found out is different than Surgical Nurse... you can't really perform surgeries yourself (suturing, etc..)

    Can anyone give me any insight as to how I begin my journey into Surgical Nursing? What programs I should be looking into? And schools, if possible. Thank you so much for your time and concern.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 13 : Reason: spacing
  2. Get our hottest student topics delivered to your inbox.

  3. 2,238 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  4. 28 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I don't think LVNs can act as surgical nurses. I think you have to be a full fledged RN before going into PACU and then as a surgical nurse.
  6. 0
    Quote from StephenAndrews
    I don't think LVNs can act as surgical nurses. I think you have to be a full fledged RN before going into PACU and then as a surgical nurse.
    I'm not really interested in LVN. I want to get into RN. I was informed that the best way to go would be go for my LVN and then RN... But I was to be a Surgical Nurse. Not just a regular RN.
  7. 0
    Just for the record guys, I'm not really familiar with the medical terms yet... I'm not sure what a PACU is, or any other acronym... thanks. :-P
  8. 2
    There are several roles in a surgical team, and varying paths to each role. Some roles can have multiple paths (education and training) to do the same job. Circulator, first assist, anesthesia provider, etc. can all be nurses. What you are describing to me sounds like first-assist. Look that up and the other team member roles and see what fits.
    JustBeachyNurse and RunBabyRN like this.
  9. 6
    A surgical nurse is a regular RN. There is no extra certification required to become a surgical nurse, though many hospitals require prior experience. There are certifications available, but they are hardly required in the vast majority of hospitals. Likewise, no nursing school is going to prepare you specifically for a particular specialty in nursing. There isn't a nursing school for oncology nurses or L&D nurses or anything like that. Nursing school ensures that you have a basic comprehension of the foundations of nursing, prepares you to take the boards and lays the foundation for critical thinking.

    You need to go to school for your RN if you want your RN. Getting your LVN and then trying to get your RN while working is just a ridiculous idea unless you have extenuating factors that demand that you get a job fast(ish).

    Surgical nurses more often than not are not actually the ones assisting the surgeon. The majority of surgical nurses, per my experience, are circulators (in the operating room but charting, getting things that are needed by the surgical team, etc).

    As a surgical nurse, you will not be performing surgeries nor will you be suturing. You will not be in the cut with the doc. The surgical tech is the one who handles instruments and provides them to the surgeon during the actual surgery.
    Last edit by SoldierNurse22 on Jan 8
  10. 0
    Quote from theperfectday0
    I'm not really interested in LVN. I want to get into RN. I was informed that the best way to go would be go for my LVN and then RN... But I was to be a Surgical Nurse. Not just a regular RN.
    Sorry. I thought you checked the school's website that you linked. They do not offer ADN or BSN. They offer LVNs.


    edit: Soldier is right, at least for Kaiser in California. In all my times of being in the OR, the RN acts as a circulator, making sure equipment is all there and if anything's needed, they will go get it. The person handing the equipment to the surgeon will be the Surgical Tech.
    Last edit by Kuriin on Jan 8
  11. 3
    Quote from SoldierNurse22
    A surgical nurse is a regular RN. There is no extra certification required to become a surgical nurse, though many hospitals require prior experience. There are certifications available, but they are hardly required in the vast majority of hospitals. Likewise, no nursing school is going to prepare you specifically for a particular specialty in nursing. There isn't a nursing school for oncology nurses or L&D nurses or anything like that. Nursing school ensures that you have a basic comprehension of the foundations of nursing, prepares you to take the boards and lays the foundation for critical thinking.

    You need to go to school for your RN if you want your RN. Getting your LVN and then trying to get your RN while working is just a ridiculous idea unless you have extenuating factors that demand that you get a job fast(ish).

    Surgical nurses more often than not are not actually the ones assisting the surgeon. The majority of surgical nurses, per my experience, are circulators (in the surgical room but charting, getting things that are needed by the surgical team, etc).

    As a surgical nurse, you will not be performing surgeries nor will you be suturing. You will not be in the cut with the doc. The surgical tech is the one who handles instruments and provides them to the surgeon during the actual surgery.
    I was going to say this, too. If you want to perform surgery, you might need to be a surgeon.
    Surgical nurses go through the exact same nursing program as any other nurse. Also, the job market right now is EXTREMELY competitive, especially for new grads. People are taking what they can get. You may not get RIGHT into surgical nursing out of school. Being okay with that and open to other units for awhile would serve you well.
    Check out the Specialties tab- there are a few specialties you might click on and poke around.
    Also, talk to surgical nurses in your area. Get their words of wisdom.
    I'd look at the CSUs down there that offer a BSN (LB, LA, CI, and others, if I remember right). You'll have a better chance at jobs with a BSN nowadays, especially in that market- I know Cedars no longer hires ADNs (associate-degree nurses).
  12. 0
    Quote from SoldierNurse22
    A surgical nurse is a regular RN. There is no extra certification required to become a surgical nurse, though many hospitals require prior experience. There are certifications available, but they are hardly required in the vast majority of hospitals. Likewise, no nursing school is going to prepare you specifically for a particular specialty in nursing. There isn't a nursing school for oncology nurses or L&D nurses or anything like that. Nursing school ensures that you have a basic comprehension of the foundations of nursing, prepares you to take the boards and lays the foundation for critical thinking.

    You need to go to school for your RN if you want your RN. Getting your LVN and then trying to get your RN while working is just a ridiculous idea unless you have extenuating factors that demand that you get a job fast(ish).

    Surgical nurses more often than not are not actually the ones assisting the surgeon. The majority of surgical nurses, per my experience, are circulators (in the surgical room but charting, getting things that are needed by the surgical team, etc).

    As a surgical nurse, you will not be performing surgeries nor will you be suturing. You will not be in the cut with the doc. The surgical tech is the one who handles instruments and provides them to the surgeon during the actual surgery.

    So you're saying that Surgical TECH will allow me to handle instruments in the OR, but regardless I won't be able to perform anything myself?
    I'm getting different information from different people. I was led to believe that Surgical Tech does not handle equipment, merely sanitizes and preps the OR.
    Are you familiar with the salaries of a Surgical Tech VS. Surgical Nurse?
    I've been informed, not only does a Surgical Tech. get paid significantly more, they actually have a part in the OR.

    As an experienced nurse, do you have a suggestion as to which program is more suitable for what I'm interested in?
    I want a well paying salary, of course (with all that student loans I'll need to pay it off quick!) but I also want to scrub in. If I choose Surgical RN, I will be able to scrub in right?
  13. 0
    I see, but Surgical Techs barely make a living! I don't want to sound melodramatic, but the standard of living is so high right now... I need to be able to financially support myself and a family. I'm probably leaning more towards RN, I've heard an RN can scrub in.. is that not the case? I talked to a West Coast University admissions rep and he said that you take the program (3 years and 3 months) and then you take the license test (forgot the name of it), and then you get to choose your field. So what exactly does a "Surgical" Nurse do, if not maintain the OR?


Top