Pro/Con: ER vs OR as a new grad

Specialties Operating Room


Hi everyone, I posted a similar question under a different topic area, but I am desperate for any input. I am graduating with my ASN this coming August and am pre-enrolled in an RN to BSN program. My long-term goal is to work in pediatric surgery, as a first assist, APN, or PA etc. Any role that would allow me to actually assist in the surgical procedures, specifically cardiovascular or cardiothoracic. I have two job offers from a national recognized children's hospital corporation, the campus where a live is only a level 2 trauma center while the main hospital is 3 hours away. The other is for an adult OR at our largest hospital locally, also level 2. Considering my career goals, does anyone have any advice regarding which area would end up being the most beneficial. I'm worried I'll lose vital skills if I go straight into the OR, while simultaneously knowing that if I want to work in surgery until I die maybe it's okay to not be doing subcutaneous injections and Foleys everyday. I also know not many new grads start in the OR as many don't have traditional residencies. The ER is in pediatrics and that is the demographic I would love to be working with, however most of their higher acuity will be air lifted to the main hospital. I like the ER, but if the cases I would want to work on most are being diverted to the larger campus, would it really be helpful for me in the long run? Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.

If your longterm goal is OR, take the OR position. There are plenty of new grads who go straight into the OR and succeed. Those vital skills you're worried about losing can be relearned if needed, and you will learn skills specific to the OR (which will include way more foleys than the floor will!). Generally, there may not be a huge difference in the type of patients seen at a level 1 trauma facility vs a level 2 for the vast majority of trauma cases. My former organization was a level 2 adult and became a level 1 adult about 5 years ago- our patient population hasn't changed one bit, nor has what we shipped out (burns and peds).

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, CCT,Emergency, Flight, OR Nursing.

I agree with Rose Queen wholeheartedly. If its surgical nursing (OR) that you want to do , then forget the ER. Go straight to the OR. You will learn So much in the OR and still be able to practice many of the 'skills' that an ER nurse would have done such as IV cannulations, Foley placement etc etc. Best of luck .

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