Need advice from OR/Cath RNs


  1. I wish/glad I work...

4 members have participated

Hey Guys,

I'm interested in pursing a career in the OR or cath lab, after seeing the glorious world of med-surg. How does on-call work? What range of pay for on-call, and how does call back work? Not sure the pro/con of either area. Would love to get a foundation in trauma, then again, maybe I shouldn't complicate my life and just master the Cath lab and become amazing at it, vs juggling all the areas of OR. Any quick tips for interviews in either department? TIA, I know this is a lot. I just need to make sure this is the right choice for me. Lastly, what is the greatest challenge balancing family life and the schedule of either dept? Lets say OR is 8hrs, and Cath at 5am right?

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Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,348 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

These are all going to be very facility dependent. My facility pays $2/hour when on call. Another facility in the neighboring county pays $10.87/hr when on call. My facility has a 30 minute response time. The other facility has a 20 minute response time. My advice? Check out my post


10 Posts

Specializes in Obstetrics, Surgery. Has 3 years experience.

OR nursing all the way! So many different opportunities and the best teamwork in the hospital

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 3 years experience.

As a new OR nurse straight out of nursing school, I honestly can say I LOVE MY JOB! I look forward to going to work and even being on call. But also you should know that I fell in love with surgery way before nursing school. I say you should find your niche..what makes you truly excited to get up and go to work each day, and you won't regret that decision. At my facility, we are very specialized and we have the main OR and Cath Lab which are totally different procedural areas for us. They have their own procedural rooms and then they will come up to our ORs when they do more high risk cases (lead extractions for example) that may need vascular or cardiothoracic surgical staff on standby. There are days where you will be overwhelmed with information and there will be days where you will be tense because the surgeries you are involved with are on very sick patients but its an extremely rewarding job.

As far as call, I know my facility isn't like others but I will give you a brief overview. Call is $3/hr and that is continuous for us even when we swipe our badges to come in for call, we get entire call pay for that shift, other facilities even in my area stop the call pay once you swipe and then you are just making OT alone. I work for a hospital that has specialties so we are not required to be experts in all types of surgeries, if your hospital does this you will take call for your team only and be called in to do your specific cases. As for cath lab, I know they take call, but I am unsure of the specifics there. Other hospitals take call, and they do anything that comes through the door, which is actually good because you will be getting experience in areas you otherwise wouldn't if you only take call for that specialty. I take anywhere between 10-17 calls a month, but I love the pay and have no children. Also, there are people always willing to give call away or take call for you, so there is flexibility, at least at my facility. I'd say shadow someone in the OR if you can, take notes, watch them like a hawk and notice not only the surgeries but WHAT THEY DO, because it is a lot. Nurses are responsible for the patient when they are anesthetized and the room while the surgeon focuses on the procedure. It is an amazing field for people who truly love it.