Do you like working in the OR?

Specialties Operating Room


I'm confused when it comes to what I want to do with my nursing career. My first position was in med/surg pediatrics, now I'm doing postpartum/well newborn. I love the patient care aspect, but I'm getting sick of the hospital hours. What kind of hours would I expect to work in the OR? There is a perioperative training program coming up, but they are asking for a two yr commitment after orientation. I'm a little nervous about taking on that commitment if I end up not liking it. I guess I"m looking for some inside advice, whether it be positive or negetive. Thanks:confused:

Specializes in Peri-Op.

Generally the shift is 6:30a-3p, 2:30-11p, 10:30-7. Some places have 10 or 12 hour shifts too.

The OR is a niche for some people. It is a tough environment to get use to. What are you gonna lose by doing it? You will be doing something new and learning something different. If you don't like it then move on after your two years. Chance are you will get used to it after your first year and either love it or hate it.

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

The hours can be really long. A lot of times, the OR is short staffed and will ask you to stay late to finish a case. This happens to me about twice a week. If there is no relief for you, you simply don't leave. That kinda sucks, but it is rare that you actually get stuck for a long period of time. I think the latest I stayed (after I said that I couldn't) was an hour.

Argo is correct in stating that it is a tough environment. There is sooo much to learn and you must constantly be vigilant of so many things. I love the fact that in the OR, you tend to ONE patient at a time. I have worked on many different units, but the OR allows me to give the one on one care that I had always wanted.

It is a vast undertaking to go into OR nursing. Many new grads go into a nurse intern program to help digest all of the information you must know to be safe and efficient. I love that the OR fits with my OCD, and when I stepped into an OR for the first time, it just CLICKED.

Good luck to you!

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.

My experience in pretty much the opposite of canesdukegirl's. We aren't short staffed right now, and have actually been given lots of low census days where we are told not to come in for our next shift. Being a level 2 trauma center, we are staffed around the clock, and 99.99% of the time leave when we're supposed to, if not early. We are required to take call in 8 hour shifts, so if there aren't enough staff, the call people stay. There is one day a week where we have an hour of education/meetings before we relieve, so on occasion if the second shift meeting runs late (second shift comes in a half hour early that day), we might get out 15 minutes late. That 0.01% is the rare days where every surgeon is running late, and even with the call people, we may need a few extra folks. No one is forced to stay, what happens is that the charge nurse will go around to each room and ask for volunteers. I have never seen someone stay involuntarily other than during a mass casualty event, and even then there were no complaints.

We also have primarily 8 hour shifts, with a few 10 and 12 hours shifts thrown in. There's actually a waiting list for people who want the longer shifts.

As for whether I love my job, most days I do. There have been a few days here and there where I feel like pulling my hair out because surgeons book add-on non-emergent cases that they want to do as soon as they book it, and they don't get that they have to get in line after the scheduled cases and any add-ons that were booked before them. There are also a lot of strong personalities (part of the reason I chose to move to second shift- fewer people, fewer personalities to deal with), and some coworkers who I absolutely cannot stand because of how miserable they are and how they try to make everyone else as miserable as they are. I also can't seem to move up in seniority- once you come to the OR, you either leave right away or stay forever.

I came into OR nursing b/c I was burnt out on Case managment. I have experienced alot of different areas of nursing in my 16 years. I must say, transitioning from case management, (a position of autonomy), to OR nurse (nurse fetch-it) was highly difficult. My brain had to switch gears. It is alot of information to learn. Unfortunately, I wasn't a scrub tech before I came into the OR, and I think that makes you better prepared. I do like it, and I learn new things every day. I have been in the OR going on 3 years now, and its now just perfecting the things I know. We don't do trauma at our hospital and I work 3-11. We take call about 24 weekday and 24 weekend. I say, go for it, you may like it.

Thanks for the replys! About the "strong personalities", we currently just hired some ST's for ceseareans on our floor and what is up the attitudes? I don't mean to offend anyone, but it's like they're socially awkward or somthing. Does the OR attract certain personalities that can't deal with awake people? I was shocked when I heard that some nurses try to "sabotage" one another. I have always had great relationships with my coworkers because we all help eachother out and work together to make a great experience for the patients. Just because its a differant area of nursing, doesn't mean its ok to be rude or bring someone down so you can try to get ahead! Please tell me thats not what I have to look forward too...yikes!

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