Shortages in OR too?

  1. I am currently completing my pre-reqs for my RN. I am interested in working in the OR. After all of the posts I read on this BB, about shortages, low pay, harsh working conditions, etc. I am curious if these problems are also felt in the operating room.One more question, I have a friend that is a surg. tech and he tells me it is important to be able to scrub as an RN. Do they teach you that? Any whoo thanks for any info!!
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    About Hidi74

    Joined: Jul '02; Posts: 726


  3. by   chartleypj

    There is a general shortage of qualified OR nurses. The average age of an OR nurse is about 45 years old. The knowlege base of these seasoned OR nurses is difficult to duplicate as technology changes very quickly in the perioperative setting. This is because procdeures we did regularly 20 years ago have been replaced by newer, less invasive techniques.

    Some hospitals offer a higher salary for working in specialty units; mine does not.
    As for the conditions; the work is exceedingly technical and can be physical at times. Development of very good interpersonnal skills as well as the ability to prioritize, organize, orchestrate and basically do anything else short of 'standing on one's head and spitting nickels' helps.

    Learning to scrub in the OR is essential; a good scrub nurse makes a great circulator. and vica versa. There are many tech. programs offered at community colleges and technical schools. Some hospitals may also be willing to train a new recruit.
    Good luck,

  4. by   Hidi74
    Thanks for the info Chartleypj, I am real interested in the OR and It seems like It would be very challenging. THANKS!!!!!
  5. by   shodobe
    As chartleypj said the OR is a very technical area and is ever changing due to the new advancements in techniques. I have been in the OR for 25 years and believe me, the things we did then would be laughable today. I think the reason nurses in general do not want to go into the OR is they want to see results almost immediately from their training. Some have the ability to be patient and others get frustrated in a few months because they don't feel their "getting it". You really must have the desire to do long cases, work really long hours and endure the mental fatigue that comes with being a real good OR nurse. I might be "biased" but I have always thought the best all around nurse in the hospital is an OR nurse. I need to be an advocate for the patient, look out for their well-being, protect them from injury and let them know someone is there for them while their asleep. Surgeons and anesthesia use the OR nurse as their eyes and ears for anything that could go wrong. OR nurses have a very important part in the nursing care as well as the surgical aspect. It is important, as chartleypj says that given the oppurtunity one should learn to scrub. This will make you a very well rounded OR nurse. A lot of hospitals do not want to give this option and it may be a factor in whether one chooses the OR or not. If you do go this route have alot of patience and hook up with a veteran nurse and learn all you can. It might take you a few years to be comfortable in a OR setting, it took me five years to be able to say I could handle anything. Good luck with your decision, we can always use a few good OR nurses. Mike
  6. by   Hidi74
    Thanks mike, what a wealth of information. I hope to find a hospital that will give me the opportunity to scrub. That will be a deciding factor when I get ready to choose the hospital where I will work. Thanks
  7. by   b-lansing
    :imbar Okay, this is a stupid question. What exactly does a scrub and circulating nurse do?
  8. by   chartleypj

    The 'scrub' sets up a sterile field including instrumentaion and supplies necessary for the surgery. He/she assists the surgeon and first assistant (also usually an MD). by handing instruments and supplies to facilitate surgery. Many facilities employ scrub techs to scrub, though RN's may also act in the role as scrub nurses. A decent foundation of A & P as well as knowledge of surgical instrumentation is necessary for this role.

    A 'ciruclator' has many roles in the OR. In many states only an RN may be a circulating nurse. the circulating nurse is responsible to plan and prepare a room for surgery. He/she assesses the patient and acts as his/her advocate, providing a safe environment intraoperatively. He/she is responsible to open supplies, maintain a sterile field of surgery, document sponge counts, hand supplies to the scrub intraoperatively and in some hospitals transport the pt. to PACU and give a report on the case. The circulator is the OR record keeper documenting many important facts of the case; for example, surgical times , procedure performed, specimans, position the pt was in intraop, drains and dsgs.

    I would say the most important aspect of our roles includes working together as a team with surgeons and anesthesia care providers to provide a safe environment for a sucessful surgical outcome.

    I hope this helps,