Operating Room RN to Nurse Practitioner?


Hi everyone!

I am a new grad nurse and I've been working in the operating room for 10 months now. I enjoyed working in the OR at the beginning because it was a totally new environment to me and I found it challenging. 10 months in and now I'm starting to get bored of doing the same tasks repeatedly. I find that in the OR I'm more busy dealing with equipment, supplies, charting, counting items, opening trays, etc. and less focused on my patient's medical history, lab results, etc. I miss interpreting lab values and assessing patients. In the OR the anesthesiologist/CRNA is the one who handles all of the patient's drips, IV's, and follows their labs closely.

I thought about going back to school and becoming an acute nurse practitioner. But, I'm concerned about being able to find a Nurse Practitioner job in the future with no critical care RN experience. So, I would like to know if it is possible to go from OR nurse to floor nursing (Med-Surg, ICU, ED, etc.)?

Or do you all think I should just apply to grad school with no floor nurse experience?

Any advice would help! Thanks so much!


412 Posts

I would recommend looking for a job in ICU or med surg before attempting to go back to school for NP


570 Posts

I agree with the above poster. I have never worked OR, but from what I've observed, heard, and read OR is unique in its nursing tasks. You do all sorts of things other departments don't do, but as you said you miss out on using/developing your patient assessment skills. I would get your year in and look to transfer. ICU, a step down unit, ER, or Med Surg would help you developed those skills. When you get one of those positions start looking into schools with an idea of starting 8 months-1 year after the new job. By then you should be somewhat comfortable in your new position. I never advise a new specialty while going to school. No one needs that much stress.

Yes you can transfer to a floor. They say to "do it now" before "it's too late" and you become somewhat untrainable, say you have been in the OR for ten years, no one would hire you. However as my colleagues told me, "get out while you can." And that's not to say the OR is horrible! But if you want to do more and go back to school for something else, which I do as well, the OR will not really help you. The only true advanced degrees one can get in the OR is in management. If you aren't interested in becoming the director of an OR then transfer to a floor as soon as you can. Hospitals will still train you. They did for me.

Has 7 years experience.

You could work OR for 2 years and get your RNFA and NP and then work in a surgical specialty.