OR vs Post Surgical - Which would you pick

Nurses Career Support


Specializes in Post Surgical.

i am a new grad and I've been offered two jobs and am having trouble deciding, here's the details:

Ambulatory Surgery OR Circulator - $27/hr, no weekends, holidays, or call, latest shift ends at 7p

Post Surgical Inpatient Unit - $25/hour, every other weekend, day/night variable shift


Is it a big mistake to not do floor nursing straight out of school????

Specializes in Med Surg/PCU.

What are you interested in? If you want to circulate, you should take that job. In my city, it's hard to get into the OR, and the residency programs won't take you if you have more than 2 years of experience in any area of nursing. And don't underestimate the beauty of no nights, weekends, holidays, or call. That's dreamy.

Also to consider, that day/night variable is a crock. It's HARD to switch back and forth. Even though you might do other non-nurse things on your opposite shift, doing nurse things when your body isn't accustomed to having to think that hard is tough stuff.

It totally depends what you like.

Personally, I hated OR (Circulating, instrumenting) it just is not my area of nursing.

However there are lots of nurses who love it, and for where you are at in your life right now maybe not having weekends etc may suit you better

Training as a circulating nurse can be beneficial should you ever want to travel one day. PACU...it is not the

Most challenging area to work. To quote a friend, "A trained monkey could work PACU". Not my words, but

that description always stuck in my brain....

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

Is there any way you could shadow in each role for a day and see what you like best? OR circulating is not for everyone, but some love it. PACU nursing will vary depending on the type of surgical facility. An inpatient PACU that recovers ICU level and pediatric patients will likely be more intense than one that recovers primarily elective, simple surgical adults.

There is something to be said for no weekends and holidays, but that also depends on your current lifestyle and living situation. If you have children or are planning a family in the near future, for example, there are many benefits to M-F. If your ultimate goal is to travel through nursing assignments, experience in a widely-applicable speciality like PACU May give you more options.

It's all relative. I'd start by asking to shadow and see what work environment feels like it's a better fit for you.

Specializes in LTC, CPR instructor, First aid instructor..

I was fascinated with the OR, but I had a lot of experience with Emergency situations because I was an EMT for 18 years, a captain for 5 years, so that made me a team leader, sergeant for 4 years, that made me work in stocking supplies, etc, and lieutenant for 12 years which made me team leader, decision maker and leader of who did what on my team. However, I loved Mother Baby, and even assisted a doctor with a birth and another doctor with preparing an accident victim for surgery. So it is about what you like to do the most more than it is about the income. If you choose the latter, you might not even like the field that pays more per hour. Remember, there are a lots of fields to choose from.

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