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Deciding between Specialties (OR Circulator/Scrub or Allergy Clinic))

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HetherV HetherV (New) New

Hello,

I've been a stay at home mom for the past few years and am ready to go back to work. My prior experience is Psych, Neuro, and Case Management but I want to do something different. One option would be in an allergy/asthma clinic. I had an interview and the manager said I am the top pick. It would be regular hours and a relaxed environment but less pay than what I'm used to. The work seems interesting and it may be a great option since I have two kids less than 3 years old. But with not a whole lot left over after child care expenses I need to really think it through. Any allergy/asthma nurses out there? What did you do? Would it be worth taking less pay to work in a relaxed outpatient setting?

An area that I've always been fascinated with is the OR and there is a 6 month residency program that trains nurses to be Circulators and Scrubs. I applied and have no idea if I will even get an interview but I really do hope so! What is it like to work in the OR? How much call did you take? What personality traits are necessary to be successful? I read that I will need a "strong" personality and I'm not sure that is me. I've always been on the reserved and quiet side. Responding to emergencies and thinking on my feet doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to others but I know with more experience and hard work I would get better at it.

Would love your thoughts and thank you!

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

Welcome to AN! A lot of your questions are going to depend on the facility you have applied to, but I'll answer based on my personal experience.

What is it like to work in the OR?

Depends on the day. Some days, it's crazy busy and emergencies pop up to throw another wrench in the system. Just earlier this week, we were running in 2 of our 3 cardiac surgery rooms when we got a call from the cath lab that a patient was crashing. Since our 3rd surgeon was on vacation, one of the other two had to drop out of their room and run over to cath lab to emergently open the chest and repair a perforation. We were running back and forth between cath lab and the OR (cath lab has an emergency sternotomy cart, but we ended up needing some things that aren't stocked on it).

Other days (particularly around the winter holidays), we get called off for low census due to many people choosing not to have elective surgery at that time.

In other words, it varies a lot. It will also be affected by how the OR staffing is structured- do people only work in a single specialty or do they get assigned wherever staff is needed? Does the facility do all sorts of surgeries or are there certain cases that are referred to other facilities? Are residents and medical students a factor?

I would highly recommend asking for a day to shadow a nurse in the OR if you are interviewed. While a very brief and likely limited glimpse, it will provide insight into the facility.

How much call did you take?

Again, depends on the type of facility, off shift staffing, and who takes what kind of call. My facility is basically divided into 2 groups: those who take main OR call and those who take cardiac call. The main OR takes a lot less call (1 shift per week) because there are a lot more of them. The cardiac call people take 2-3 days per week of primary call and another 1-2 days of secondary call. We are also a level 2 trauma center, meaning we must have 1 RN and 1 scrub (usually surg tech) available at all times. This means that since 3rd shift is staffed with only 1 team, any surgery that is booked for that shift requires calling in the call team.

As a cardiac surgery nurse, a lot of my on call where I have to work is staying late to finish cases. It's not often that I get called in to deal with an emergency or a trauma, but it has happened.

What personality traits are necessary to be successful? I read that I will need a "strong" personality and I'm not sure that is me. I've always been on the reserved and quiet side. Responding to emergencies and thinking on my feet doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to others but I know with more experience and hard work I would get better at it.

I'm an introvert. I also know that a lot of the time when a surgeon is going off, it's at the situation, not the staff, so I'm able to let that stuff roll of my back. That's something that some people have difficulty doing/developing that thick skin. However, a good management team won't let hostile behavior (tirades directed at staff/throwing instruments/etc) continue and will get it addressed and corrected.

I would suggest heading over to the OR forum (found under the specialty tabs in the yellow bar across the top) for more information. Not sure which forum would have more about allergy clinics- maybe ambulatory nursing?