RN or Surgical Tech?


Hello all,

I'm currently an LPN working at an ALF. I have not used my skills since I graduated nursing school over a year ago. I worked at a LTC facility briefly and absolutely hated it. I'm currently taking prerequisites to enter the LPN-RN bridge program. But I honestly don't know if I want to be an RN. I thought that if I became an RN, I'd really like to work in the OR. I would not want to do med-surg or ER. The OR is what really interests me. If I became an RN, what steps would I need to take to only work as an OR nurse? Or should I go to school to be a surgical tech? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)



Has 37 years experience. 3,413 Posts

Only you can answer the question. Why did you become a LVN.....an interest in nursing/medicine, helping people, a secure job that can't be outsourced, decent pay, what were your reasons? Did you enjoy school?

Why does the OR interest you? Do you have factual knowledge about OR's or just what you have seen on TV shows? Do you like OR hours...usually Monday to Friday, kind of 8 - 5?

You do not want to work med/surg or ER....and of course you know there are 8 - 20 different units, areas to work, in acute care hospitals.

If your only exposure to bedside nursing was working in a skilled nursing facility...that is a very hard, rough, exposure to nursing. I couldn't work in one.



37 Posts

I apologize for not being more detailed. I know there are other places to work. I became an LPN for all of the reasons you listed. I very much enjoyed school. I feel like I enjoyed learning about nursing more than actually doing it. I feel that I am not as much of a leader as I need to be to be a nurse. In LPN school, we did clinicals in the OR and I loved it. The human anatomy really interests me and I loved the thrill of watching the surgeon. I honestly didn't know the OR hours. We did not do clinicals long there (just two days for me).



Has 37 years experience. 3,413 Posts

No need to apologise. I prefer short direct questions.

Seems like you have a valid sincere interest in OR. That makes it harder to answer!

Maybe ask the moderators to move your question to operating room nursing. Or just repost your question there.

Edited by brownbook


AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns. 2,577 Posts

I would do the LPN-RN, get some OR experience and then go for your first assist. This way, if you decide hmm maybe OR isn't what you thought it would be you have many more options as an RN. As a surgical tech you can be a surgical tech, that's about it. I am also guessing surgical tech pay isn't as good either.




267 Posts

Go for the RN. Nothing wrong with being a ST, but there's nowhere to go from there. As an RN, you can scrub or circulate and get much better pay. As an RN you can also move up the ladder one day if you want. Plus if you do decide to move on to a different specialty one day you can.

Surg techs truly only have the one job function. I've known NUMEROUS scrubs to go back for nursing.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 11,005 Posts

Echoing the above. Surg techs are very limited in what their job options are: surgery ... or ... surgery. As an RN, you'd have a lot more flexibility should you find the reality of OR nursing to be different than your perception. Side note: I've noticed that a lot of the clinical experiences for the OR involve watching the surgery and very little actual seeing what the nurse does. Lots of surprise and reality shock for some of our newer nurses. RN pay is much better as well- in my facility, the STs max out where a nurse starts.

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 10 years experience. 946 Posts

If you only want to work in the OR, perhaps you can get the ST first, and then continue working towards getting your RN. You will probably have an easier time getting an RN OR job if you have that experience already. But, it would increase the time before becoming an RN. I'm also not sure about costs. Some employers would help you get your RN if you want to continue working there. If you can get the ST while getting other RN prereqs done, that would be good. But, everything is money and time. It may be easier to go to school if you work "regular" hours (m-f day shift).