How to get into perioperative nursing?


I am a recent nursing grad and had good clinicals during school. I only saw a few surgeries, a C-section and an orthopedic one but I have always loved watching documentaries that involved surgeries and the like. I started a new job at a long term care facility because I found it hard to get hired in a hospital. I didn't work as a CNA cause of my traveling and I think that gave me a disadvantage. So far I am not really enjoying my job even only 5 days in.

I guess I have a few thoughts and concerns. I feel like I don't know very much even though I did great in school and the NCLEX. I know all nurses feel like that... But I also felt thrown under the bus in my workplace. On my fifth day of orientation, they put me by myself. This was super stressful and it makes me dread having to go back. I don't think I'll be by myself next work day, but I feel like it'll happen again when I don't feel ready.

I really would love some shadowing experience in the OR. I feel like covid might prevent some learning opportunities though. How have any of you gotten into OR nursing? How can I shadow some nurses to gain experience? I live in the Milwaukee area in Wisconsin so if anyone knows how I can get some experience, I'm all ears!


2 Posts


Its pretty easy these days.  You can inquire at any hospital Human Resources Dept.  Most Hospitals offer new grad perioperative training programs and you could ask if you could shadow for a day to because you are interested in applying.  
     I have 15 years experience in the OR as a Circulator and Charge Nurse and have seen that they have made it much easier for new grads or experienced nurses without OR experience to gain entry through perioperative training programs.  

Good Luck!

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

A lot of times, once you get your foot in the door at a hospital system, it makes things easier. I don’t have any advice but I do know having lots of nurse friends in a wide variety of specialties really helps when it comes to trying to transfer to another department!