New Grad starting in OR


I'm looking for thoughts/advice on starting out in the OR. I will be graduating this May and of all my clinical rotations I loved the OR the most. I've had some instructors tell me that starting a career in the OR as a new grad isn't advised because of losing nursing skills. But then others working in the field say just the opposite and it's a wonderful place to start if that's your passion. So many in my class know exactly where they want to work, but I'm struggling with finding that perfect fit. I know I'm not interested in a med-surg floor and the areas that I think I would enjoy would be an ICU, PACU or the OR.

Any feed back would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

Dixie Langston

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,840 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 17 years experience.

Hi..most instructors are going to give you the old line that new nurses shouldn't start out in a specialty, you'll lose skills, blah blah blah. I've known many new grads(myself included) that went right to the OR and are doing fine. I had previous experience as a scrub, but I have seen new grads with zero OR experience flourish.

If you know that you'll despise med/surg then why spend a year someplace where you'll be miserable? That is a one way road to Burnoutville, IMO. I'm a nerd,:specs: so I try to educate myself on things that we don't see so much in the OR. I'll pick a topic and read all I can on it. And you'll gain many new skills in the OR that you'd never get anywhere else. They may even teach you to scrub, which is fun.

Unfortunately, many instructors today know very little about the OR and you're lucky if you get an observation day in clinical or have it mentioned in lecture. So, it's nice to hear that people have an interest. Good luck!:yeah::nuke:


18 Posts

Specializes in Neuro ICU.

Thank you for your thoughts and input. Makes me feel better about wanting to start in a speciality area.


231 Posts

I went almost directly to the OR upon graduation last May and have not regretted it for one minute. I say almost because the hospital gave me the option of working for several weeks on a post-op floor to see what type of care post surgical patients get and I took them up on it. I'm glad I did: it was good experience, but it was enough floor nursing for me, thank you very much :D

Be prepared to feel overwhelmed at times. There is a ton of information to absorb: I always said it was like drinking from a fire hose. Be patient with yourself and understand that you simply can't absorb it all at once. Hopefully your hospital has a good training program and you'll make the transition pretty easily. Read a lot of the topics on this board to get a feel for what others have gone through. You can watch a lot of surgery online here: A lot of it won't make sense to you now, but you'll get a feel for the procedures.

That said, you're in for a really exciting time. I wouldn't want to work anywhere else.


21 Posts

Specializes in OR. Has 1 years experience.


I graduated May 2007 and went to work night shift on a BUSY neuro/surg floor. Loved the work...was terrified 98% of the time...had great orientation but couldnt adjust to night shift (also lived 1 1/2 hrs a commute too)...came back home to work at hospital and knew I didnt want to work floor here. Went to OR...I like it. Its NOTHING like the floor and our nursing program did nothing to prepare me for it. I miss direct patient care some but I am glad I am here. I dont really use any nursing skills that I learned...but you have to have good criticial thinking and orgainizational skills. You will learn ALOT! I have been there since Nov. I am now circulating by myself. Wont be much longer and I will be taking call and scrubbing in.

Good luck....


49 Posts

I'm on my 3rd week of training at a UC hospital and i love it so far. Lots of info but this is what I wanted to do. My training is 6 months. I think you would be able to know if OR is for you. Good luck!:yeah:


952 Posts

I graduated from nursing school this past November. I started an OR internship at a local hospital last month. It's important that the hospital you work at has a good training program. If you interview for a position in the OR, be sure to ask about their training program/internship/whatever they might call it. Ask how long it lasts, if they use the AORN training guidelines, etc. I've learned so much already after only being there for a bit over a month...there's a ton of information & you might feel like you're back in nursing school, but the big difference is that if it's something you're really interested in & enjoy, it's not so bad! I really love it & don't regret jumping straight into the OR. I knew in school that floor nursing wasn't for me! I was good at it, but I really hated it! Now though, I love my job & I can't imagine being anywhere else.


18 Posts

Specializes in Neuro ICU.


Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Many of my class mates say "Ohhh you'll get bored with the OR, you won't get to really interact with the patients" But, I feel much like you in that I'm good at floor nursing and always have a great rapport with the patients but I just don't enjoy it and it doesn't feel like a good fit.

Anyway, thank you and everyone that has shared their input and made me feel better about wanting to immediately pursue my interest.




2 Posts


Hey I live in Winston-Salem too!! I started in the OR at Forsyth Medical Center straight out of nursing school. They have a 6 month orientation there for new grads. I do not think that a year of med/surg nursing is at all necessary for the OR. I have been working in the OR for 4 years now and have pretty much loved every minute of it!!

Good luck!


8 Posts

Specializes in operating room.


since nearby 20 years i`m working in o.r. and i can tell you: it´s a great job for flexible nurses....

o.k., some people say, they would miss the direct contact with the patients...why not? ...the nursing floor needs nurses and the o.r. needs nurses, there is a good place for everyone.

i found my place 20 years ago and i didn´t miss naything



38 Posts

I started working in a medsurg floor because everybody was telling me that I need to start with MS. After a year and a half I'm finally going to the OR and I'm so excited! I think there's an advantage in going to medsurg since you develop your analytical skills and assertiveness but going straight to OR won't hurt too! I am going to North Shore Univ Hosp in manhasset NY and I'll be in a 6 mos orientation. Being a new grad 6 mos of orientation will definitely make you feel comfortable with what your doing... I hope this helps. Goodluck!:saint:


13 Posts


I've been a nurse for 6 years and 3 of that 6 is in OR. When i started in OR I had no experience at all. I can tell you that it was the best move I have made in my nursing career. I am also happy that I started in medsurg because it helped me to gain a lot of knowledge and helped with my assertiveness and leadership skills and crtical thinking. It was stressful 90% of the time but I did not regret it. If OR is what you really want to do then I say go for it. It is a very interesting feild

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