How did you start in OR?

Specialties Operating Room


As a new RN I am still trying to find my niche, but I have been interested in OR nursing since school clinicals. Did any of you start in the OR right away or did you work elsewhere first? How long is the orientation to OR? It is a whole new kettle of fish for someone coming from a med/surge floor so any input is greatly appreciated.

Also, do any of you work with RNFA's? If so, how do they fit into the OR team?


310 Posts

My first nursing job was Labor & Delivery. Learned to scrub and circulate C-sections, enjoyed that, and decided to transfer to the OR.

Length of orientation depends on the individual OR - an OR in a Level 1 trauma facility that does hearts, trauma, transplants, etc. will have a longer orientation period than a small community hospital that only offers a few specialities.

One thing to be sure of-- be sure that the OR where you will work offers a structured orientation program. A nurse without OR experience really needs a good orientation, and sadly many OR's have extremely haphazard orientation programs. Some hospitals offer a formal OR nurse course. Many hospitals will require a committment, 6 months to a year, in return for the training.

This link to the AORN (Association of periOperative Registered Nurses) website lists many of the OR courses aroung the country:

The important thing here, as with any job is to be selective.

You are no doubt aware of the nursing shortage--the shortage of OR nurses is even more pronounced, in part, because for many years nursing schools have not offered students any opportunities for OR experience. SO-- you should be able to find a good OR that will welcome you with open arms.


1,260 Posts

Specializes in O.R., ED, M/S.

I spent the first 9 months on a M/S floor while deciding what to do as a specialty. An opening came up in the OR and I jumped on it. Orientation was at least 6 months before we were allowed to take any call with a "buddy" and then another 3 months before we were on our own. At the time were did all kinds of trauma, especially the "gun and knife" club circuit. The hospital two years later gave up on that and all trauma now goes to the county and university. We also use to do all the c-sections, not any more; alot of neuro, not any more. We do cover mostly ortho, urology, general,etc...... I do spend alot of time at a sister hospital that does alot more so I can keep my hand in everything. I have been doing this now for 25 years and I still learn something daily. It is true there is a tremendous shortage in the OR and most hospitals have gone back to training their own like mine did many years ago. I think if you show willingness and the enthusiasm needed in the OR, anybody with any sense would take you in a heart beat! Good luck and welcome to the club, Mike

Sarah, RNBScN

477 Posts

Work exp: surgical, community, occupational and emergency. OR 6 wk. orientation with a mentor. General, urology, EENT, ortho., gyn and vascular. Small community hospital. NO transplants, open heart or neuro. Shipped out to larger centers. RNFA's we don't have any yet but some are interested since we have a shortage of GP within the community and nurses are assisting.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X