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Going from OR to ER?

Emergency   (330 Views | 3 Replies)
by PandaCookiesRN PandaCookiesRN (New) New Nurse

PandaCookiesRN has 6 years experience and specializes in Surgery/OR.

42 Profile Views; 2 Posts

Hi all,

I've been an OR/Circulator RN for almost 6 years. I went straight into the OR from nursing school and have worked at a couple of different hospitals over this time, but always OR/Circulator. When I was in nursing school I was convinced that Med/Surg and other areas of floor nursing weren't for me, and felt that the OR would be a good fit as it was a different specialty with one patient at a time and I found surgery to be interesting. I should also admit that I was somewhat terrified of the floor and definitely suffered imposter syndrome towards the end of school.

Fast forward to now, after 6 years of the OR, I am burned out and bored. I'm ready for a change and have been researching other areas like Med/Surg, CCU, etc., to see what might be a good fit.  I find myself very interested in ER nursing but I feel very challenged by the idea of it as I basically have not practiced the sort of skills, critical thinking, and knowledge required to be successful in the ER. I would love to get honest opinions on what you all think of this. Am I likely to struggle even more than a new grad, or is it a challenge worth taking? While I feel nervous/scared, I also feel that I'm in a different headspace now and am ready for a new challenge and direction in my career.

TL/Dr: Surgery/OR RN of 6 years with no floor experience is interested in ER nursing. Good fit/change or maybe not so much?

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206 Posts; 2,801 Profile Views

I went straight into OR from school and am now in ER.  My only stop in between was a brief hospice stint, which I probably would have stayed in longer if it weren't for some personal/other needs driving me back to the hospital and acute care.

I personally did not like OR and left a lot faster than you.  It could have been the particular hospital and people but it just was not for me.  There is absolutely no reason that you cannot be trained for ER.  If a new grad can pick it up, then you, with your 6 years of OR experience, can pick it up.  You will have certain insights that a new grad (or even another experienced nurse from a different specialty) will not have.  Where you will likely need extra support will be in managing multiple patients at once, prioritizing, and of course, technical skills.  And the, who do I call for what/where do I send this stuff.  However, doing a sterile procedure at the bedside?  You've got this!  Communication skills with the team?  On it.  Charting?  Yep.  Running your tail all over the place?  Done.  When you have a patient scheduled for a procedure, you will know what that entails and what it means for your patient.  Lots of good crossover you probably haven't thought of.

If you are interested, go for it!  Shadowing is helpful but never really tells the whole story.  Oh, and if you go for half a shift, don't ever go from like 7-1.  ER starts out slow (usually).  Stay a whole shift.  Even better, shadow a couple of whole shifts.  Or shadow a mid-shift (that will blow your hair back).

Best of luck 🙂

 

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PandaCookiesRN has 6 years experience and specializes in Surgery/OR.

2 Posts; 42 Profile Views

1 hour ago, Polly Peptide said:

I went straight into OR from school and am now in ER.  My only stop in between was a brief hospice stint, which I probably would have stayed in longer if it weren't for some personal/other needs driving me back to the hospital and acute care.

I personally did not like OR and left a lot faster than you.  It could have been the particular hospital and people but it just was not for me.  There is absolutely no reason that you cannot be trained for ER.  If a new grad can pick it up, then you, with your 6 years of OR experience, can pick it up.  You will have certain insights that a new grad (or even another experienced nurse from a different specialty) will not have.  Where you will likely need extra support will be in managing multiple patients at once, prioritizing, and of course, technical skills.  And the, who do I call for what/where do I send this stuff.  However, doing a sterile procedure at the bedside?  You've got this!  Communication skills with the team?  On it.  Charting?  Yep.  Running your tail all over the place?  Done.  When you have a patient scheduled for a procedure, you will know what that entails and what it means for your patient.  Lots of good crossover you probably haven't thought of.

If you are interested, go for it!  Shadowing is helpful but never really tells the whole story.  Oh, and if you go for half a shift, don't ever go from like 7-1.  ER starts out slow (usually).  Stay a whole shift.  Even better, shadow a couple of whole shifts.  Or shadow a mid-shift (that will blow your hair back).

Best of luck 🙂

 

Thank you so much for replying! I think I’ve come to realize that at the end of the day I have to take my future into my own hands, and if I want to be successful in whatever area of nursing I migrate to, I have to study and put in the work regardless. 

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jollydogg_RN has 11 years experience as a ADN, BSN and specializes in OR.

333 Posts; 9,202 Profile Views

I have been on my own now in the ER for about three weeks, not at a level one. I just switched from the OR after being in it for a little over 5 years, circulating and scrubbing a little at the end, last two years travel. Was enrolled in an RNFA program but the timing never worked out with that and travel.

I'm loving the switch because after a year of ER I will be so. freaking. marketable. with my OR experience. I've been an RN almost 11 years though, with a year med/surg, a year of LTC supervision, psych, hospice, and other things, so the transition would probably be easier for me. 

 

I say GO FOR IT. I was dreading the prospect of sitting around doing BS work waiting for ORs to get back into full swing, and ER was always something I had been considering, so if not now then when?? It's pretty awesome learning everything, getting in good with the staff and the docs, and learning a lot of stuff I've pushed on the backburner and just plain new stuff in general. Relearning all the significant reasons for labs and then applying them to all different types of situations, it's great!

Just think, if you do 1-2 years of ER, with your OR background you could easily do PACU, IR, cath lab, and maybe even some step down units. You would be extremely, extremely marketable! That's just my two cents.

Edited by jollydogg_RN

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