Periop 101- I just want a damn interview!


  • Has 13 years experience.

I don't know if any of you work in Seattle, but if you do, I've applied at (and hassled) Harborview for the periop 101, and Swedish just posted openings for the fall cohort this week. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know...especially for Swedish, since Harborview is looking like a no-go.

Swedish LOVES the ADN program I graduated from, so there is that. They hired at least half of my cohort.

But for any OR nurses, any advice on standing out, resume tips, stuff like that? I've gotten some great advice on this forum already, and I'm so grateful...unfortunately, it didn't work. I applied to Harborview Medical Center's periop 101 (Harborview is Seattle's level 1). The assistant nurse manager in the OR had actually posted info about the periop program on my ADN program's alumni FB page, along with her contact information, so I emailed her. I also emailed the nurse recruiter. I just want to say that this is far and away the most aggressively I've ever pursued a job in my life. Anyway, the asst. nurse manager responded quickly, and wanted to know why I was interested. I emailed her back. No answer. A month goes by....nothing. I emailed her three days ago, just to follow up....nothing. I don't understand why it's difficult to respond and just say the position's been filled. I know they don't want an ADN, regardless of my 10 years of previous LPN experience and my many clinical experiences in the OR (mostly due to my persistence in requesting opportunities). But, still, just have the human decency to tell me you don't want me!

Meanwhile, my coworker who just finishing up the BSN got an OR position with no previous nursing experience and exactly ZERO clinical experience in the OR. You know what she said to me? "I'm really surprised at how clean it is!" Apparently she expected to be standing in a pool of blood? So, basically, this OR hired her based almost solely on the BSN.

I'm frustrated.

Anyway, this new periop 101 position has opened at Swedish, and they're much nicer about hiring ADNs. I got accepted to WGU and start in September, so I'll be sure to play that up. But I'm wracking my brain, trying to think of things to do. Should I contact them directly, the way I did with Harborview? How useful do you all think recommendation letters are? I do have a retired NP friend I worked with in a derm clinic, and I assisted her with biopsies all the time...She loves me. I feel like I should ask her for a letter. How important is networking and knowing people in the department? Should I talk about my clinical OR experiences in my resume or cover letter (they were great and I loved all of them)? Any other advice? I WANT THIS JOB. I've known since my very first experience in OR in 2005 that I wanted to be in the OR. It's frustrating that I can't beat out BSNs on sheer enthusiasm- because I have it.

Thanks in advance!


10 Posts

Hi Amari,

Although I'm not from the Seattle area, I do understand your struggles. I am an ADN as well and a new grad nurse with no previous OR experience, however here in FL and in some other states we have residency programs for new grads who want to come to the OR. Ever since my nursing school OR rotation I knew I wanted to get in, I also knew not having a BSN was going to be my biggest challenge. Luckily I stumbled upon a hospital that was offering that program. Long story short, it was in another city and I had to move.

I'm not sure about your financial and/or personal situation. I wanted to get into the OR at all costs so I made the move. Not having kids or being married of course made it that much easier. I got a call after I applied and they invited me for an open house "job fair." I was pretty skeptical because I've never met anyone hired at a job fair. There were about 12 applicants that showed up, most looking very experienced and many had their BSNs, except me. After the initial interviews I got called back for the 2nd round of interviews, so I knew I had made the first cut, so that gave me a lot more confidence. The 2nd round was with the perioperative managers and all the leads, a 6 person interview. After a week or so they made their decisions and let me know that I got the job. It was probably one of the best feelings in the world. I was finally getting my dream job.

So here's what I recommend you do. Try to locate all the hospitals in your area, ask yourself these questions - how far are you willing to travel? how badly do you want it? Then you want to get together a portfolio with your resume, recommendation letters (the one from your nurse practitioner friend would be a great asset) I would definitely mention that at your future interview, any exposure to an OR or OR-related procedures goes a long way and puts you above BSNs who haven't had any OR exposure. When you send in your application try calling the department or adding recruiters from that department on Linkedin. Networking is a great tool. I've gotten job offers simply by adding recruiters. You should definitely practice your interview skills in front of a mirror and with friends. I did that for several weeks when I was interviewing at different hospitals. I was only able to find 2 programs that were taking applicants in my entire state, so I know it's difficult. One of them rejected me, and my other options were working med-surg or neuro which really weren't what I wanted to get into at all.

Try not to sound desperate while talking to them, but just let them know that their hospital has always been an inspiration to you and that you know you'll be a great asset to their team. The OR is a very fast-paced environment and very high-stress too, so they tend to be very picky about who they choose. If you can find a phone number to perioperative services I would give them a call and try to get a managers number. I know this process is daunting and difficult but nothing that you really want ever comes easy. Also, I know you guys in Seattle need OR nurses because I keep getting Facebook advertisements asking me to move to Seattle to be an OR nurse, which is something that I will be considering after I finish my 2-3 years here.

Anyway, I hope I was helpful. Keep your head up I'm sure you'll find something. Make sure to mention all the surgeries that you have seen, make sure you understand the role of all the personnel in the OR such as the circulator's responsibilities, scrub, first-assist and surgeon.

Good luck to you! I'm sure it will all work out. :)


1 Post

Hey Amari!

I interviewed for a Periop cohort a couple of months ago, in another state. When they saw my LPN they were a little concerned that I may not be able to delegate and lacked leadership skills. I had to advice them that I had held a managerial position in the past and my student officer position were on my resume. I'd

empathize any leadership roles you've had including student officer, how your school focused on cultivating your leadership skills. They were also were very interested in my customer service skills and teamwork. How would you handle concerned pts and their families, etc.

On your resume, maybe include any of your teamwork, leadership skills or roles, etc.

They want to make sure you can hold your own.

This is what worked for me. HTH and good luck! :)


24 Posts

I got in with an ADN, try Colorado!!its beautiful here and has many hospitals.. My company's periop 101 cover Colorado Springs, Denver, Parker, castle rock and pueblo