OR Nursing to Floor Nursing


Hello. I have been an OR nurse since graduating 9 yrs ago. I have never done floor nursing. I have recently switched positions to the floor and will start orientation mid June. I was super excited until last night about 3 am when I woke up and realized I don’t know how to be a floor nurse. What kind of training is typically provided? Should I be reading up on health assessments etc? I’m scared now

Specializes in Med-surg, home care.

Reading up on health assessment is fine but you need the hands on (like pretty much every area of nursing) and you will receive orientation so you should be fine. I am actually a med/surg nurse for about 1.5 years and looking into OR and from what I can see there is several months of training involved to become an OR nurse, even if you are already an experienced nurse. It's the same thing but the other way around although I don't know of any floor orientation as lengthy as OR orientation. Besides I am sure some skills are transferable (time management and organization skills to name a few) and everything will be learned and developed over time, just like in OR nursing I assume. If you don't mind me asking, why are you leaving OR?

The last time my floor hired a seasoned OR nurse, her orientation was not that long; I want to say just a few shifts. Her preceptor essentially showed her "how our unit operates" but honestly, I was surprised they didn't give her a couple of weeks to become acclimated. Of course everyone is different, but it did take her some time to get used to the flow, the different KIND of time management skills required, and all of the protocols in regards to who is consulted for each patient, all of the various consult groups and how to contact them, etc. It is an entirely different environment that I don't think any nurse, 9 years seasoned or not, should jump into without proper orientation. Of course, it depends on the unit and depends on the person!

Personally, depending on what demographic of patients you will care for and your comfort level with those patients, I would brush up on some basic assessment and pathophysiology/pharmacology knowledge.

For example, if you were transitioning to my cardiac step-down unit, I would recommend briefly brushing up on telemetry and 12-lead EKG, acute CHF management, acute MI pre and post-op care, ABGs & oxygen delivery systems, etc.

During your orientation, try to compile a list of commonly-used phone numbers -- not sure about your facility but my facility has several different groups and some use the operator, some require an answering service, many have pagers, others have direct lines -- it is maddening and when you are busy on the job, trying to find who to call can be a real hassle. Easier to have a little directory on you!

Also ask to become oriented to different unit resources -- for example, Lexicomp for medication administration, a lab-test directory, where to find basic unit policies. Personally these are things I want to learn ahead of time, rather than trying to look at them for the very first time once off of my orientation.

I suppose I just realized it is now late June and you were due to start a week or two ago-- I hope your transition has been smooth! Please follow up on how things have been going!!