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Perioperative Nursing??

Hi Guys & Gals...

I am currently a pre-nursing student and plan to start clinicals next fall. Since even before I decided to go to nursing school I have had a fasination with the OR. I know that my goals could very well change (and I will not be surprised if they do down the road)....

I had knee surgery 2 weeks ago so my break between semesters has been spent pretty much as a homebody. I decided to do some more reading and just looking into nursing in more detail... amazing the stuff you can find when you are bored and just keep looking. I have read through a lot of the archives on this section and enjoy a lot of the conversations.

I also was looking at the different hospitals in our area to see what type of programs they offer for new grads. I have a couple of friends that will graduate in December so it has been fun watching what they are deciding on and where they want to settle down... all three are in different areas... one M/S, one ED, and the other going to ICU. The one that is going to the ED has always said she wanted to be an OR nurse but after working as a tech in the ED is hooked.

All the hospitals around here offer a "Perioperative" training program for new grads. I always thought that perioperative referred to ability to work as a complete OR nurse... to be able to scrub and circulate. When my friend that is going to the ED looked into it and went to the nursing "recruitment" day she was told that perioperative training at one of the hospitals was a good bit longer than the others and that was because she would be trained in PACU as well. Is this standard? How many nurses are trained for not just the OR but also for PACU? And how many new grads do you hear about going through this training? I have always considered them to be two different specialities and while I think it would be great to be trained in both areas I can not imagine starting the other until you are totally comfortable with the first... wouldnt that be a lot on a student? Just curious what some of ya'll think. I know that there will be some that will just say that they dont think new grads should be in the OR... but for some it seems to have worked going to the OR straight out of school. Of the 5 areas available to new grads around here I can I will probably be in the OR or ED before it is said and done!


Having worked in both ED and OR, I would think a new grad would need more M/S experience for the ED. How can anyone function comfortably in that fast-paced, critical-care environment, without some basic nursing assessment skills under their belt? I think that may be one of the reasons ED nurses burn out so fast. As far as the OR goes, it is completely different then any other type of nursing. There is so much to learn, and even seasoned nurses learn something new everyday! Most larger facilities offer extensive orientation to the new OR nurse, new grad or not. The facility I worked for provided a 6 month "consortium", as orientation into the OR. This consortium included several hospitals in the area, and provided alot of clinical experience with scrubbing and circulating. I would highly recommend this type of training to a new grad. As for including PACU training as part of the OR training, I agree with you, that I thought they were 2 different specialties. Maybe this particular facility feels having their OR staff cross-trained may help ease their stafiing problems. I would find out, up front, how often you would be expected to "float". If you're not comfortable with their response, make sure you let them know.

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