Nursing Student interested in OR for practicum

  1. Hi,

    In January I will be starting my last semester of nursing school. I signed up for practicum in the OR because I really like the OR and want to work there once I am an RN. My instructor advised me to do it for experience and to make sure I do really like it. I was just wondering what a practicum would be like in the OR? Has anyone taught practicum and could give me some information of what to expect?

    Thank you!
  2. Visit coconutzz profile page

    About coconutzz

    Joined: Apr '10; Posts: 50; Likes: 11
    from US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in OR


  3. by   Rose_Queen
    That's going to depend on the facility. We haven't had any nursing students do practicums with us, but we have had nurse externs. They aren't allowed to chart, dispense meds to the field, or count, as policy says these are RN-only duty (counts are at least one RN, the other may be a ST). Chances are you won't do much scrubbing as the majority of hospitals employ surgical techs to fill the scrub role. Even as a GN hospital employee I was only allowed to do those things with direct supervision of the precepting RN- they weren't even allowed to be on the other side of the room.

    The sticky thread at the top of the forum also has good tips so that you know a little bit of what to expect (So you're observing in the OR).

    Just a few tips- see if you can spend a few days in other areas of periop care- preop, PACU, shadowing anesthesia. Part of my orientation included sterile processing and the scheduling department.
  4. by   Sister Fox
    What's a practicum? Don't think we have such a thing in the UK (unless they snuck it in since I retired!)
  5. by   CaliLvr000
    Well maybe I can help. I am a senior nursing student currently doing my practicum in the OR. I LOVE IT. Doing a practicum in the OR really helps to learn about the environment and personalities that work there.

    The first few days and even weeks I spent shadowing my preceptor and just taking it all in. Sometimes I felt like I was in the way, but overall staff was very helpful and into teaching. So much is at stake when a person goes in for surgery, so don't expect to show up and start tossing things onto the sterile field and so on. First, you have to prove that you are competent and safe.

    After shadowing and learning how the team operates, my preceptor started letting me get more hands on. I started to feel as a part of the team and less in the way! I can now (with her by my side of course) check in patients before surgery, prepare medications that will be needed, assist the anesthesiologist, assist with positioning the patient, prepping, placing F/C, and help the team with things they may need during the surgery, and so much more. There is so much to learn and things to take into consideration!

    My advice is just to be as helpful as you can and always ASK if you can help/what you can do before you touch anything! Also, help with transferring patients, turning over rooms, etc... The OR is very team oriented, you will learn this early on. Keep a pocket note pad with you to take notes of things that you learn and things to look up later. Good luck!!
  6. by   coconutzz
    Thank you so much for your input! I am really looking forward to the experience!