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Can't get my foot in the OR door, help!

ylime92 ylime92 (New) New

I'm looking to get into operating room nursing but I'm having a terrible time getting any offers. I have worked 1 year 4 months in an LTACH specializing in ventilator weaning and have spent the last 6 months on a cardiac/respiratory unit in a hospital. I live in the Milwaukee area, where the medical field is dominated by about 3 huge corporations, so the idea of looking around at different organizations is severely limited. I work for 1 of the 3 big players right now. I have also applied to the few ambulatory surgery centers around here, but with no luck. Obviously, I have no OR experience, and the multiple OR positions I have applied for and interviewed for do not want someone without experience. I'm totally confident I can do the job, but how do I get someone to give me a chance? Is there a path I should pursue like cardiac cath lab RN or something else that will help me eventually get to where I want to be? Thanks for your help :)

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

What you need to look for are postings that are intended for those without experience. Because OR nursing is a whole other world, our orientation is a very long process- a decent orientation for a nurse with no OR experience should be 6-9 months. Because of the length of orientation and way many facilities structure it, such programs are only offered one or two times each year. You may have better luck if you're looking around the times that students graduate nursing school.

You may also want to have someone review your resume and practice interviewing with you- someone who will provide honest feedback. There are many who may do well on paper, but when it comes to the interview may not look so good.


Specializes in Perioperative Nursing - ENT, CTC, Vasc.. Has 7 years experience.

Can you ask to observe in the O.R. where you work? Everywhere I've worked will let a nurse observe in the O.R. If not on your own scheduled shifts (if you ever have slow days, lol...), maybe on an off day? Then, you will have your face in there. Ask questions while you're observing, if the nurse is up for it - a lot of times even the surgeons are happy to explain what they're doing. :) You could maybe shadow a circulator. I got my first job in the O.R. right out of nursing school because in my last semester of nursing school, I followed an O.R. assistant director around for my Leadership class. And she happened to believe in training fresh nurses who weren't already trained elsewhere who had "habits" that would be hard to break -- because OR nursing is a different "flow" than floor nursing. It may be a "process" to get into the O.R. but that is a start...Good luck :)