New grad starting out in the OR

Nurses General Nursing

Published

Specializes in School Nursing.

I was wondering if anyone started out as a new grad in the OR? I am interested in an internship but have heard it is very difficult to be a new grad in the OR and that a year of ICU or med-surg is helpful and preferred for success. Any thoughts?

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

I know lots of new nurses who start in specialty areas (including OR) rather than doing the "requisite" one year in m/s.

My impression is that most of the RN's in the OR started as Surgical Techs and then went back to school for their nursing degree. So they have a great advantage when they train for the nurse role, because they already know the instruments, what's needed for various cases, etc. I guess you could make it without that experience, but I think a lot would depend on how much time and money someone is willing to invest in your training. If they are used to the Tech-to-Nurse orientees, you could seem incredibly slow to them by comparison. Still, that's just my experience. For all I know many OR's are more than happy to train new grads with no background in surgery. You'll just have to find out what goes on in the hospitals you're interested in.

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

It would depend entirely on the hospital you went to. Some have really rigorous and extremely informative nurse intern programs that will prepare you for working in the OR, and some are sort of put together by whomever is free that day. Ask what your precepting program would entail. I don't think that you would need to start out in another unit if you are really excited about learning.

One caveat: the OR is a scary place for some new grads, as there is an incredibly large amount of material to learn. You can get through it, but know that you will likely feel uncomfortable for a bit until you get the swing of things.

I say go to the OR if that is your passion. Just take lots of notes and enter the OR with confidence. You will do well.

Specializes in School Nursing.
It would depend entirely on the hospital you went to. Some have really rigorous and extremely informative nurse intern programs that will prepare you for working in the OR, and some are sort of put together by whomever is free that day. Ask what your precepting program would entail. I don't think that you would need to start out in another unit if you are really excited about learning.

One caveat: the OR is a scary place for some new grads, as there is an incredibly large amount of material to learn. You can get through it, but know that you will likely feel uncomfortable for a bit until you get the swing of things.

I say go to the OR if that is your passion. Just take lots of notes and enter the OR with confidence. You will do well.

Thanks! I really do want to go into the OR. This is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the nation with a 24 week internship, so I think it is a good one. It is just for circulating though, not scrubbing. I did not have any prior experience as a surgical tech but I was an OR surgery scheduler for many years so I am familiar with a lot of procedures at least. I hope I get it :)

Specializes in adult ICU.

Just my two cents --

OR nursing is a really narrow specialty. Lots of people love it and stay there for their whole career but if you want to get out, just know that your patient care skills are going to be verrrrry rusty. I had a career OR nurse for a patient's wife a couple of years ago and I was medicating her husband and she had to ask me what metoprolol was. Seriously.

Specializes in Tele.

I am starting my OR internship next month. I am nervous and excited. I know it will be hard but they are ready to teach and i am ready to learn. The internship is 6 month long. Good luck. We can do it.

Specializes in Critical Care.

I have a friend from nursing school that started out in the OR. She interned there so it helped get her face and resume in front of the managers, but they hired new grads.

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.

I started my OR job a month after graduating. That was 5 years ago, and I'm still there with absolutely no regrets. Yes, it's true that you will lose some nursing skills such as IVs, but you will also gain a new skill set specific to the OR. It also give you a chance to see real anatomy up close and personal. Quite honestly, I don't think a year of med/surg truly helps in the OR because the OR is such a specialty area. There is so much to learn- just look at how long the typical orientation is (6-9 months!). In my experience, we've been about 75% RNs with zero OR experience and 25% STs who went to nursing school. As long as the program is supportive, a new grad with no OR experience should be fine. I was in an orientation group with another new grad and an OR PCA. The orientation group after mine was 3 new grads and 3 nurses from other units who had no OR experience.

+ Add a Comment