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Pre-Op Nurses -- or anyone else who'd like to offer advise!!

Operating Room   (12,050 Views | 4 Replies)
by iheartnursing7 iheartnursing7 (New) New

iheartnursing7 has 2 years experience and specializes in cardiac telemetry.

526 Profile Views; 1 Post

Hello everyone,

This is my first time posting on this forum, so first of all i'd like to say HELLO to everyone, I'm always a silent lurker but have never had the courage to post

Anyway, my question / post is mostly for Pre-op nurses or any one familiar with this specialty. I'd like to find out more information regarding pre-op as i'm very interesting in working in this area. I have a general idea as to what pre-op nurses do (i've worked telemetry for 2 years now and have prepped many patients for surgery) But I'd like to know some details such as

1- pros/cons about the job,

2- what do you like,

3- what do you hate,

4- how many patients do you typically work with at a given time,

5- stress level,

6- what's your schedule like? 8hrs Mon - fri or 3 12's ... if 8hrs, do you miss the 3 12's, do you feel less tired even though you are working 5 days (3 12's make me feel sooo drained physically and mentally)

7. Did you ever work floor nursing (medsurg/tele) and if so how is pre-op different, better? Would you go back?

Quick short story about me...

I am a fairly new nurse (2 short years under my belt) I started on a crazy-busy med/surg - telemetry floor 7:1 patient ratio.. tremendous amount of stress and unsafe working environment... dealt with it for a year and 3 months and transferred to a different facility/hospital with the hopes that nursing would be different..

However I landed right back in telemetry. This time only 5:1 patient ratio, definitely much better, more tolerable working environment... BUT it's still not what I want to do.

Today's patient's are SO sick, and so demanding sometimes I spend more time fetching water,snacks, and meeting their requests in order to keep patient satisfaction scores high than doing actual nursing care! :(

Management puts more and more demands and responsibilities on nursing staff. We have to complete our shift assessments before 10am, we have a 30min morning huddle that cuts into our report time, meds are due all around the clock 7:30, 8am, 9am, 10, 11, 12, 2, 4 and so forth (sometimes I feel like all i'm doing is running around giving medications around the clock because once I'm done with 10am meds it's already 11ish and time for 12pm meds) We only have 1 hour to complete discharges -- yes we have to basically kick the patient out because ER needs the bed for the next patient. (which I find so unprofessional and unfair to the patient, some docs come in at 8am to discharge a patient and management expects them to be out of the door by 9am) !!! And between all this my phone does not stop ringing -- lab with criticals, pharmacy with questional medication orders, other procedural departments calling for report to come pick up patients, and the patients themselves calling for more requests!!!

Don't get me wrong i LOVE nursing, but some days I break down and cry myself to sleep because I feel so unhappy at work every single day. So before I throw in the towel and give up on a career that I was once so excited for I'd like to try a totally different specialty -- and pre-op has always caught my attention... so please without judgment, i'd like to hear your opinions and any advice you have if you have ever felt this way in your nursing career and what helped you save yourself from calling it quits! Nursing is seriously affecting my mental health / physical health (i get really tachycardic and feel anxious at work) and I know something has to change because I refuse to live unhappy and work in a field that makes me so sad. Life is too short for that.:no:

Thank you to whoever takes the time to read and reply :)

Hanging on to the last bit of hope,


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firstinfamily has 33 years experience as a RN.

790 Posts; 5,734 Profile Views

Welcome to AN, I have never done pre-op nursing, but I have been in your shoes. I am currently getting ready to return to the acute care environment and guess what??? On a med/tele floor!!! I know it is going to be a difficult change for me, but I feel I need to get back to the acute care environment to learn more and to be in a positive environment. There are worse environments out there!!! When I first left acute care back in 1997, I left a tele unit to do cardiac testing. I was the Cardiac Nurse for the Stress-test patients, if you have cardiac experience and ACLS you most likely could look into cardiac testing or Cath Lab. That would get you off the floor and give you a little more specialty experience. Having the telemetry experience will be beneficial for you and working in an procedure or testing area is different. With Cardiac Stress testing we took out patients and in patients, so we were busy all day. It involved a lot of standing, but it is the first place I was actually able to do pt education effectively(because there was a window of time). I worked with the echo techs and the imaging techs, so a good team. I was the only RN and sometimes that became a little stressful because if anything goes wrong everyone is looking at you to take care of it. It was a good experience for me. You might also try PACU, having the tele and ACLS would most likely qualify you for that area as well. I have been nursing for a long time and have left acute care through out my career. Most of the time it was because I felt I was in a dead-end zone and wanted to grow. The hospital has the latest and greatest of medications and procedures, but not with staffing issues. It seems they are always staffing by the numbers, not acuity levels and now days they are not turning anyone away. The patients are very sick, more now than before. Taking care of patients in an outpatient type setting is different, you do not feel as overwhelmed and you actually accomplish something!!! You most likely will do well with short-stay type patients-----oh, that just rang a bell, do you have a section of the hospital that does EGD's or same day surgery??? You might look into those areas as well. Good Luck!! It is important to recognize when you are ready to change paths in your career. It sounds like you are ready.

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Fiona59 has 18 years experience.

1 Follower; 8,321 Posts; 53,763 Profile Views

I work in a day surgery unit that is a specialty service. On any given day, I work with a minimum of 8 patients.

Review medical history, assess vital signs and blood sugars, administer pro-op meds.

Then discharge them when they return post op, vital signs, educate and goodbye.

Sounds easy, right? Nope.

You need really good assessment skills.

They are asked to bring a translator if English isn't their first language, usually the relative's English is pretty bad. Then you have to use the translator service provided by the hospital which is a long, arduous process.

Deal with fools who can't follow the instruction sheet provided by their surgeon's office. They've eaten (so you have to see if they can be moved to the end of the day), they are wearing enough jewellry to stock a counter, they have more than $5 cash on them (really who needs $1300 to go for surgery???) I work in Canada, we have universal health care, you just need a piece of ID because the office has all the healthcare numbers.

Families and friends who treat it like a day out. They want to hang around post op, we want them out. They don't like the post op snack offered. They think a minor procedure needs a three hour nap post op.

It's like floor nursing but compacted into one visit.

I have a friend who works the Cataract Unit, they see anywhere from 15 to 72 patients a day. Her day is much like mine.

The good thing is the patient goes home and guess what, you get a fresh batch every single shift.

I work 8 hour days. 12's would drive you insane. Most of our positions are part time.

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jules5515 has 36 years experience and specializes in Adult ICU.

12 Posts; 1,121 Profile Views

I have applied for a pre-op nurse position in a specialty hospital. I had been in the same facility for 35+ years, mostly in adult critical care. I accidently sent a rude email to the secretary of the VP of communication. Ironic, isn't it. I sent an apology email to both of them but I definately feel that I needed to be made an example of. I was "allowed" to resign but my record was flagged as ineligible for rehire to any of the hospitals under this system. I am almost 60 years old and have had 3 back surgeries and a double mastectomy and this was a dream job for me. I was a Transfer Coordinator which was a desk job. Able to use my brain instead of my body

I have had 3 back surgery, a double mastectomy so I am unable to work ICU due to the lifting, pulling pts up in bed or turning. Let's be honest. When I started in 1979, there were no body mechanics. I was working rehab and it was a required to get the quads out of bed by a method of grabbing the pt around

their upper chest, put their legs between mine and move them from the bed to their wheelchair.i know that doing this really screwed up my back.

I really believe that I was let go due to my high salary and the idea that I'd retire soon. Another nurse friend of mine had been in this same system for 40 years. So from being a pre-op nurse would be a great.job. I don't mind walking and standing. I'd get to do direct pt care and teach which I love. I love putting in IV's and doing 12 leads. I plan to take a total of 6 months off - left jan 8. So I'm itching to go back to work. It was a traumatic experience and I had trouble working thru the anger. So I'm getting better at it. Thanks for listening!

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momathoner09 has 12 years experience and specializes in Cardiac.

236 Posts; 6,118 Profile Views

The full time position in our area works 0500- ? Monday through Friday. The time that person should get off is 1300 but that is very rare. There's no one else coming in for any type if shift change. So your work is done once the last scheduled patient of the day goes back and/or once all the charts are done for the next day.

Admin is a big part of the job. Lots of researching and calling other parts of the hospital to make sure all the labs & diagnostics are ready for the patient for surgery. Communicating with the PAs about the patient. Also- and this one can be interesting- communicating with the floor nurses about getting the patient ready. I'm pretty sure they hate us lol. But when you have an inpatient there are certain things that should be done on the floor. We can do them but you usually are short on time (especially for the 7am cases) & really they have plenty of notice to put an IV in (not a #22 ugh!) & take vital signs, etc. Sometimes you can be by yourself trying to get 3 patients ready to go back at the same time & 2 came from home so they need everything done so it can be pretty crazy 1st thing in the morning. Everyone in the OR wants everything done so they can start surgery & the last thing you want to do is hold any if that up.

I get more than annoyed when I make a point to call a nurse at 415 from my house to make sure someone is ready by 0530 & then they're not. I've seen non working IVs, consents with the surgeons' name misspelled, no consents, etc. Yes it's not a big deal to re do these but we shouldn't have to. Plus it takes time away from other things we have to do.

I've only worked in stepdown for a short time before this & I can't picture ever going back to floor nursing. If anything I would rather move the other way into the OR if I could. It's very different from floor nursing but I really like it. Obviously the no nights, weekends or call is a pro. I'm still not sure how holidays work yet either. I'm pretty sure they are call team only though which isn't us. I don't have a problem working holidays & weekends but obviously having them off is pretty awesome.

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