Jump to content

orthopedic nursing


Hello I'm new to this board and I'm currently a nursing student I have some questions about orthopedic nursing and what it entails. I'm just unclear of what a nurse in orthopedics does (like give meds, shots, start IV's, etc.) Thanks for all our help!:)


Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

Hi. Post over at the Ortho board too and we'll try to


Ortho Nurses do all of the regular med/surg type stuff. We have a special interest in the function and repair of the musculo-skelatal systems. On my unit of 30 beds, it would not be unusual to have 12 discharges and 12 post-op admissions in one day!

We also did a lot of pain management with epidurals etc.

Ask and BlueBear and I will try our darndest to answer!

Hi Gabby,

Glad you asked that question..Orthopaedic Nurses are a speciality.. I am certified and some would say certifiable but that's a whole other story... Ortho nurses need keen observation skills.. Making sure of circulation to a foot or hand is imperative.. As with the former post you need basic med-surg skills also... You will be looking for impaired skin integrity, impaired tissue perfusion, impaired mobility, pain, and losses... Pain may be your biggest challenge because the patient needs good pain control to be able to fulfill all the requirements of rehab... Also, remember that narcotics can cause constipation and imobility only adds to it.. When doing your daily assessment ask about pain relief and about bowel function you will do both yourself and your patient a favor.... Work closely with physical therapy.. Watch for fevers but take them into perspective as the surgeon has been at the seat of the circulatory system and interrupted it.. You will give blood to these patients either their own from surgery, or their own previously donated, or a donor unit.. Know the signs and symptoms of a reaction and explain it to the patient before you start the blood. Tell them to report any signs of trouble to you immedialtely... Have a patent IV before you obtain the blood and if not establish one... You will give antibiotics to these patients know how to do that... I'm sure I missed something but not to worry someone will come along here and fill in the blanks.. Good luck with your career you have chosen well..... TTFN

May the sun shine brightly on you and may the wind be always at your back...

This topic is now closed to further replies.