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Difference of being a periop nurse and a surg tech in WA


Specializes in Harm Reduction/Public Health. Has 1 years experience.

I am a pre-nursing student in the Seattle-Eastside area and I am totally fascinated with the surgical field lately. I was wondering about what the actual difference would be between pursuing an education as a perioperative nurse or a surgical technician. What is the actual difference between them, and/or what would be the best path to pursue if I was wanting to get into surgery work?

Another concern of mine is how I could possibly find some opportunities to shadow a periop nurse or watch in on some surguries to see if this is actually what I was thinking it to be. Any words of advice from those in this field would be very appreciated. Thanks guys!

Nursing 'typically' will require more pre-reqs and therefore time to complete the overall program.

Surg Tech has cert or AS programs which you complete all pre-reqs and program in less time then RN degree.

If you look at the SIEU pay chart you can see the money difference... nurses will make more - which is why some hospitals try to use surg techs in place of nurses.

Nursing has a LOT more flexibility should you need to move around or want to explore other areas - as well as follow on graduate education.

I don't know to much about specifics within the OR room - it sounds like an interesting place!!!

I'd look at pre-reqs for both and see what the time / cost would be between completing each program and then comparing that to the initial rough estimated salary - as well as seeing what hospitals hire in your area.. some might use only one or the other.. some use both.. some are in demand some are not.. depends on the area ;)



Specializes in Harm Reduction/Public Health. Has 1 years experience.

Thank you. I'm just finishing up prereqs right now and am planning on starting off with the ADN, but i really want some kind of specialization. I'm currently doing a nursing assitant certification program at a local college in Bellevue right now as well. What looks most interesting to me is perioperative, infusion nursing, or working extensively in wound care.


Specializes in Surgery, Telemetry. Has 4 years experience.

You can be a PeriOperative Nurse and still scrub. However, Techs are not nurses and are limited only to the scrub tech position in the OR. Techs make a less than a LVN/LPN but more than a Nursing Asst. Their education is only a few months. I work in the OR as a Nurse and do both.