Undercover Learning

  1. Hello, All:

    I am currently a pre-nursing student, but my goal is to become an OR nurse with the icing on the cake being becoming a RNFA. Then I was told by my nursing professor that that was very very difficult because you have to be choosen and taught by a willing surgeon. At first I was considering going into the Surg Tech program to get a fast track into the OR, but an RN friend showed me that I would have more options and flexibility as a nurse. I don't see it listed anywhere under my class descriptions during clinicals that I would be taking a Surgical Instrument class, so how do I get that knowledge and is there anyway that I can get a jump-start on learning it? I wanted to see if I could take the class with the Surg Tech program, but just like everyone else, they have a waiting list. Also, does anyone have an opinion on going through a Surg Tech program first, getting a job & then reapplying to the nursing program? Do you think that will give me a "knowledge" advantage? Also, I have heard that you can also move up to assisting as a Surg Tech if you get certified? I read the RNFA thread & there was a lot of arguing back and forth about the role of the RNFA vs the Certified Surgical Tech, but I know that RNFAs are not recognized by Medicare in several different states. In all honesty, would it be better for me to try to get into surgery as a Surg Tech and move up from there, or will the RN route be my only/best choice. I know that I want to spend my career in the OR and not on the floor (I'd try to be a surgeon if I was younger!)?
  2. Visit walktheline profile page

    About walktheline

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 107; Likes: 33

    8 Comments

  3. by   ortess1971
    Quote from walktheline
    Hello, All:

    I am currently a pre-nursing student, but my goal is to become an OR nurse with the icing on the cake being becoming a RNFA. Then I was told by my nursing professor that that was very very difficult because you have to be choosen and taught by a willing surgeon. At first I was considering going into the Surg Tech program to get a fast track into the OR, but an RN friend showed me that I would have more options and flexibility as a nurse. I don't see it listed anywhere under my class descriptions during clinicals that I would be taking a Surgical Instrument class, so how do I get that knowledge and is there anyway that I can get a jump-start on learning it? I wanted to see if I could take the class with the Surg Tech program, but just like everyone else, they have a waiting list. Also, does anyone have an opinion on going through a Surg Tech program first, getting a job & then reapplying to the nursing program? Do you think that will give me a "knowledge" advantage? Also, I have heard that you can also move up to assisting as a Surg Tech if you get certified? I read the RNFA thread & there was a lot of arguing back and forth about the role of the RNFA vs the Certified Surgical Tech, but I know that RNFAs are not recognized by Medicare in several different states. In all honesty, would it be better for me to try to get into surgery as a Surg Tech and move up from there, or will the RN route be my only/best choice. I know that I want to spend my career in the OR and not on the floor (I'd try to be a surgeon if I was younger!)?
    Hi, I was a tech for 5 years before becoming an RN. Personally, while I loved my job, I recommend going straight to nursing school. Your best bet is to get an student nurse intern job in an OR if there are such positions in your area. This way, you'll get a jump start on learning instruments, sterile technique and you'll be a familiar face when hiring time comes. Your instructor is mistaken about a surgeon having to hand select you to be an RNFA. There are RNFA programs-usually several weeks of seminars(how to suture etc) and then it's usually about 2000 hours of supervised OR time. There are 3 RNFA's in my OR. As far as being a certified tech, I was certified and it really didn't do me any good-they certainly didn't pay me more. Really, take it from someone who has been there, don't waste time. Go for your RN. I have never seen a surgical tech first assisting, to be honest with you. Maybe in some parts of the country but I haven't seen it here in the Northeast. Rn's make better money than surg techs too and are usually treated better. Like I said, I loved being a tech but the benefits are a little lacking in the money and respect department. Good Luck! PS. Back in the day, there used to be an OR rotation in Nursing school-not any longer, which is unfortunate. You'll probably get some observation days, though. Don't worry about not having an instrument class. You'll learn all that stuff once you get hired into an OR-the orientation is typically 6 months to a year. PM me if you have any other questions.
    Last edit by ortess1971 on Oct 14, '06
  4. by   MissJoRN
    I can't argue with anything Ortess said, and I'd hate to see one less RN in the world, but have you considered becoming a PA? They often work in a first assist role also.
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Back in the day, there used to be an OR rotation in Nursing school-not any longer, which is unfortunate.
    There still is in some areas.
  6. by   inspir8tion
    My school has an OR rotation. Also, I was a student nurse intern in the OR for 10 months. I graduated in May, passed the boards in July, worked med/surg for two months and am currently in an OR program (for 9 months). I think the internship helped me tremendously. It definitely solidified my desire to go into the OR.
  7. by   walktheline
    Everyone:

    Thanks so much for the info. I have been thoroughly reading this site, and I saw where some people said that they were told that they had to work on the floor before the OR, and some said they got directly into an OR position. An HR rep told me that it is preferable in my state (S. Carolina) to have a year of staff/floor nursing but look at my stats: I'm 37 yrs old, on a waiting list that does not start my clinicals until 2010 (yes, 2010!), and my "tunnel-vision" interest is in the OR, so at this point, I don't really need to "find myself." Can I get past the one year on the floor? Also, would I be at a disadvantage in terms of nursing knowledge if I were to go directly in to the OR? Lastly, my specific interest is in cardiac surgery. Will I face any significant obstacles trying to get into this specialty? All info is greatly appreciated.
  8. by   ortess1971
    Quote from walktheline
    Everyone:

    Thanks so much for the info. I have been thoroughly reading this site, and I saw where some people said that they were told that they had to work on the floor before the OR, and some said they got directly into an OR position. An HR rep told me that it is preferable in my state (S. Carolina) to have a year of staff/floor nursing but look at my stats: I'm 37 yrs old, on a waiting list that does not start my clinicals until 2010 (yes, 2010!), and my "tunnel-vision" interest is in the OR, so at this point, I don't really need to "find myself." Can I get past the one year on the floor? Also, would I be at a disadvantage in terms of nursing knowledge if I were to go directly in to the OR? Lastly, my specific interest is in cardiac surgery. Will I face any significant obstacles trying to get into this specialty? All info is greatly appreciated.
    This sounds cynical, but an HR rep. is likely to tell you that you have to do a year of floor nursing because that's where the highest turnover occurs. There are 5 of us training to be OR nurses in my department. There are 4 former floor nurses, and myself, who is a new grad with OR experience. I have heard these floor nurses say that the adjustment has been hard at times, because the floors are nothing like the OR. The adjustment for me has not been bad because I knew names of instruments, surgical procedures etc. You use nursing knowledge in the OR. We assess patients pre-op(labs, ekgs, skin integrity, psychological status, knowledge deficit etc) and critical thinking, which is important for any nurse, is crucial in the OR. Yes, it can be hard to get into the OR as a new grad in some states, but the student nurse OR internships are helpful. This gives you the experience that some places require you to have. They'll probably teach you to scrub, which IMHO, is a must for any circulator. Cardiac teams are normally closed teams but sometimes they're looking for new people.. PS-I think it's wonderful that some schools still have an OR rotation. A co-worker and I were trying to figure out a way to expose more students to the OR since the schools around here only give you 1 observation day a semester and it's not mandatory. OR nursing gets 30 minutes of lecture in the first semester.
    Last edit by ortess1971 on Oct 17, '06
  9. by   walktheline
    Everyone:

    Thanks so much for all the info.
  10. by   BeccaznRN
    Quote from ortess1971
    This sounds cynical, but an HR rep. is likely to tell you that you have to do a year of floor nursing because that's where the highest turnover occurs. There are 5 of us training to be OR nurses in my department. There are 4 former floor nurses, and myself, who is a new grad with OR experience. I have heard these floor nurses say that the adjustment has been hard at times, because the floors are nothing like the OR. The adjustment for me has not been bad because I knew names of instruments, surgical procedures etc. You use nursing knowledge in the OR. We assess patients pre-op(labs, ekgs, skin integrity, psychological status, knowledge deficit etc) and critical thinking, which is important for any nurse, is crucial in the OR. Yes, it can be hard to get into the OR as a new grad in some states, but the student nurse OR internships are helpful. This gives you the experience that some places require you to have. They'll probably teach you to scrub, which IMHO, is a must for any circulator. Cardiac teams are normally closed teams but sometimes they're looking for new people.. PS-I think it's wonderful that some schools still have an OR rotation. A co-worker and I were trying to figure out a way to expose more students to the OR since the schools around here only give you 1 observation day a semester and it's not mandatory. OR nursing gets 30 minutes of lecture in the first semester.
    I completely agree. We got one observation day in the OR and one lecture in med/surg relating to preop, periop, and postop. I happened to luck out and got the only OR spot in our senior capstone class (180 hours with a nurse preceptor). I am 100 hours into it so far, and I have learned so much already! If I didn't already have a job offer, I would totally try for a new grad OR spot - if only I would have gotten exposed more to the OR before now! There are a few nursing schools in my area that offer OR spots as senior capstones, and I think that's a step in the right direction.

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