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The difference of a periop nurse and a surg tech?


Specializes in Harm Reduction/Public Health. Has 1 years experience.

I am a pre-nursing student in the Seattle-Eastside area and I am totally fascinated with the surgical field lately. I was wondering about what the actual difference would be between pursuing an education as a perioperative nurse or a surgical technician. What is the actual difference between them, and/or what would be the best path to pursue if I was wanting to get into surgery work?

Another concern of mine is how I could possibly find some opportunities to shadow a periop nurse or watch in on some surguries to see if this is actually what I was thinking it to be. Any words of advice from those in this field would be very appreciated. Thanks guys!

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

A periop nurse is someone who holds a nursing license and works in the OR, pre-op area, or PACU. A surgical tech is someone who has attended a surgical tech program, which teaches them how to scrub. A nurse may scrub or circulate. Depending on the state, STs may also circulate under an RN (I've personally never seen this). Nurses have much more flexibility should they decide they need a change. Flexibility for STs is limited- endoscopy, hospital surgery, outpatient surgery, possibly c-sections in OB. There is also a good article on what OR nurses do in the articles forum.


Specializes in Harm Reduction/Public Health. Has 1 years experience.

Thank you. I' have read that, and things seem a bit more clear now.