OR Nursing Shifts and Schedule Q


Hi all

Just curious as I am new to the OR realm. Do any OR nurses work night shifts? Is it latest 11pm? Looking at some new grad programs, OR is my top 3 in specialty areas, but really looking for a specialty that I can avoid night shift as it has in the past really affected my ability to function.

Thank you.

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,442 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

This will be very facility specific. As a trauma center, we staff 24/7. The bulk of staff works days (7a-3p; 8:30a-5p) or mid shift (11a-7p). A small number work evenings, and 1 team works nights. Now, our rule is that we do not staff newbies on nights. The cases that happen during those hours are true life and death, and they need an experienced team that is competent in anything that rolls through the door on hand. However, there are call requirements. If there is a case, another team must come in as there must be an available team at all times. How much call is required will depend on the facility and the staffing structure.

Outside of trauma centers, there may not be night shift staffing at all- but there will still need to be call coverage for when those cases appear in the middle of the night that can't wait until morning- appendectomy, perforated bowel, orthopedic fractures with neurovascular compromise, ruptured aneurysm, etc.

Outside of acute care, there's also ambulatory surgery options. These may or may not require previous OR experience. No nights, no weekends, no holidays, likely no call.

Now, how call works could also vary by facility. In mine, those on call are at home and typically go about their normal day, as long as they stay within the 30 minute response time. At night, they go to bed just like normal. Sometimes, the phone rings and they have to go into work for a couple of hours. Most times, they just sleep through the night.