9 Tips for New Operating Room Nurses

Updated | Published
by Rose_Queen Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN (Admin)

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience.

Transitioning into the role of an Operating Room (OR) nurse, whether a new grad or an experienced nurse changing specialties, can be overwhelming. Sometimes, those nurses wonder if they made the right decision in accepting the job. Here are a few tips that can help make that transition smoother.

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shonniemurphy

shonniemurphy

7 Posts

Thanks so much for this information! I am a new grad that was fortunate enough to be hired as a circulating/scrub nurse. I begin my orientation 10/31. I am very nervous, yet excited!

sneed1o1, BSN, RN

Specializes in CV|OR. 49 Posts

Just passed my Periop 101 exam. I will begin the hardcore clinical portion for the next 6 months! These tips have been helpful. Our system is only requiring that we do 3 weeks of scrubbing and then move to the circulating role. Lots to learn, but I'm loving every minute!

Thank you for this article! I just got hired for an OR position and I'm super excited! OR nursing has always been my passion and Rose_queen and all the OR nurses have been most supportive offering their advice.

Alex46

Alex46

1 Post

Hi I am in my 5th week as an ortho scrub nurse and feel completely overwhelmed and a bit useless. I was previously a senior nurse on the ward. Any advice x

jag nurse

jag nurse, RN

Has 18 years experience. 79 Posts

Alex46,

How are doing now? Are you liking it, fitting in, getting the hang of it?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 10,983 Posts

Alex46 said:
Hi I am in my 5th week as an ortho scrub nurse and feel completely overwhelmed and a bit useless. I was previously a senior nurse on the ward. Any advice x

Your feelings are completely normal! You may have been a senior nurse on the ward (which the terminology leads me to believe you aren't American?), but the OR is a whole new world. Basically, it's like starting all over as a new nurse since you're in a brand new specialty that is nothing like what you've done before. Just keep going, and be sure to get feedback from your preceptor. Use that feedback to keep setting new goals.

RNOTODAY, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, ER, OR. Has 18 years experience. 1,116 Posts

Excellent, and much needed Post. So so many nurses have NO idea what it's like beyond the double doors....and experience, or years of practice make zero difference... I've seen more than a few veteran nurses run out the door, simply by hearing a surgeon yell and become irritated,

and actually seeing and learning just how much we do and why ..

it truly is a specialty like not none other , I'll never work elsewhere

RNOTODAY, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, ER, OR. Has 18 years experience. 1,116 Posts

Great article!!

The operating Room is truly another universe, and years of experience one has as a Nurse is of no help... you are simply lost beyond the double doors , it takes TIME.... new RNs to the OR must accept this ... you won't " get" it on a week or even 3 months... we are talking a YEAR to feel totally competent...

But... it's a specialty like no other..it's not for everyone, but more nurses need to give it a try!!. Plus it's so rewarding... I'll do NO other nursing!!

GaleSRN

GaleSRN, BSN, RN

76 Posts

I spent about 10 years in the OR. It was a lot more fun back then when RNs scrubbed in. I helped pioneer laser/laparoscopy at Stanford. I taught IV conscious sedation to other nurses for many ambulatory surgery cases. My favorite specialty was putting back together the faces of abused women. That was truly rewarding. There were only a few Techs back then. Now it is only techs scrubbing.

kathfleu

kathfleu

3 Posts

Hello, I am a returning OR Nurse. I am 50 yrs old and waiting for my approval for a Preceptorship in a Hospital before I can process my enrollment at MCC Refresher course. I am excited and at the same time nervous going back to my favorite job. The Nursing school will help me brush on my Nursing skills, but my specialty is in the Operating room. I just want to know what books I need to read just to keep me updated before I am exposed to the OR. I know it's been 20 yrs since I step inside the OR, but the skills and knowledge are still there. I just want to make sure that I'm not making a lot of mistakes and at the same time I'm trying to make my transition easier. My school is requiring me to have 132 hrs of clinical exposure. Can you recommend a specific books to read? Also, how many weeks is the orientation period typically? Thanks.

Nurseroxieo

Nurseroxieo

33 Posts

I'm in nursing school...and torn between L&D and OR...Any tips on choosing?

Nurseroxieo

Nurseroxieo

33 Posts

This is soooo good to hear!! I really want to go into the OR...but I will be 43 when I graduate with my BSN...my age has been a definite concern for me