OR Nurse thinking bout trying ED


Right out of nursing school I went right into the 6 month perioperative program at my hospital. I've been in surgery for a little over 5 years but i'm starting to get bored and burnt out with it. I have lost alot of nursing skills. We don't start IVs or give drugs, anesthesia does. I am super nervous and scared because i forgot alot of my drugs and normal doses. I don't even remember how to read EKG strips!!! I have always been interested in the ED. I had a choice when i graduated and wish i would of chose ED. You use so much of the skills you learned in nursing school. I am thinking about talking to a nurse recruiter and switching over to the ED, but i'm not so sure if the ED will hire a nurse with no ED experience. If they don't i don't know what else to do. I can't think of any other type of nursing i would be interested in. I was just wondering how long is the orientation for new ED nurses average. any other recommendations. Thank you.


34 Posts

Hi Issey,

The ED would definitely be a tough switch from the OR, but I'm sure you could do it. I don't know if they would go for someone with no ED experience, but they very well might--you never know until you try. When I graduated I did cardiac stepdown/tele for a couple of years, then moved to the ED. Even being somewhat "used" to having a variety of patients at one time, nothing really prepares you for the craziness that is the ED. It's a blast, but it's definitely a learning curve. Talk to the nurse recruiter and see what he/she has to say. With five years nursing experience, you definitely have some pull. If all else fails, switch to an ICU or tele unit for a little while and gain some more experience, then try the switch again.


174 Posts

Thanks Maggie. I know i will have alot of studying to do. I almost feel like a new grad again. lol.

Specializes in ER, Pediatric Transplant, PICU. Has 7 years experience.

There are quite a few ED nurses that do OR and the other way around in my area. It's a pretty common thing to work full time in one, and PRN in another. Even though u may need to brush up on your assessment skills, you do have a lot to bring to the table as far as equipment for procedures and knowing what different surgeons prefer. It IS a big learning curve, but I think OR experience transfers a little better to ER than other departments. Just play up which skills you do have, and be willing to learn a ton more. Go for it!!