OR to ER? Need help please

Specialties Emergency


I have been working in the OR for a year now and feel I am missing out on alot. I miss doing "clinical" things as opposed to "technical" things. I also miss the patient contact. I am not sure the ER is for me, but I think I might enjoy it. I am wondering what sort or transition this will be for me if I transfer. I know many hospitals are even offering ER internships for those not experienced. Any ideas?

So as to not mislead you Nole99RN, first let me say I do not have any OR background. I work in a level 2 ER and many of the nurses we have on staff have a varied background prior to coming to the ER. Our ER medical staffing is by ER MDs and PAs, all specialty MDs are on-call including surgeons Our ER nurses often assist the surgeons when they come into the ER for what ever reason be it Plastics, Orthopedics, or general surgery. Often it is obvious these MDs are frustrated by our lack of experience and occassional lack of knowledge or familiarity with specialized equipment used in surgery . Ocassionally we have to even call OR an see if they can send someone down to us to assist a surgeon. So MY POINT we'd love to have someone with the techical OR background and experience.

Your ER should have an orientation program that will allow you to gain experience needed before turning you loose. My guess is it will be no more difficult for you to to transitition to ER than for most nurses. The big change will be dealing with the patient attitudes and behavior that present a challenge to us all.


Having worked several Level I Trauma houses and visiting more as a flight nurse the best advice I can give you is to relax and enjoy the new challange. I suspect the most discomfort you will encounter is the intrinsic chaos that is part and parcel of the ED environment..and the antithesis of the control and structure of the standard OR. Initially, you will feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the insanity of the Medical Hamster Wheel...and that others seem much more adept at dealing with the weirdness...but hang tough and you will eventually find yourself not only comfortable in the madness but actually embracing it. I will be a challange..but you will eventually absorb the ability to rapidly asses, triage,prioritize and squeeze 14 hours into a 12 hour shift. Admittedly, I am a wee bit biased..but I find ED work about the most fun one can have with thier clothes on and recommed it to any nurse willing to give it a shot. Good luck and enjoy the ride.

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

i came into er, 5 years ago, right out of school and did exceptionally well! :) so with a years experience somewhere else? you should do just fine!!!!! :)

I'd say OR nurses can transplant well since they are accustomed to gearing up fast and having things change fast. Some of them just miss the OR and the surgeons and the control and the fact that their patients don't talk to them much (and I am not trying to be smart mouthed) and they go back.

One of my favorite colleagues was an OR nurse tranplant and she did well.

I do think their is still quite a bit technology in the ED but you are constantly dealing with the reality of the family at your elbow and so you MUST cope with the people around you. OR's tend to have a lot more control over who and how many come through their doors. ED's take what comes and when they get tired, they take more.

Go for it. A nurse with OR experience can always go back.

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