What specialties best prepare you to work in the OR?

Specialties Operating Room


As a new grad, if I wanted to work in the OR after getting a few years of experience, what specialties would be best to work in to prepare for it, i.e. in terms of learning the most roughly applicable and transferable soft and hard skills?

Thanks in advance.

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.

Honestly? None. The OR is truly a world of its own. At my facility, we actually like new grads better than those who transfer in from other specialties because we can mold them and we also don't worry about losing them when they realize how much they miss the patient interaction.

Hi there - I actually have worked in the Cardiac O.R. with many nurses who have transitioned into the O.R. and done very well in a high-stress scrub role. When I look back, here were the commonalities:

- Most came from another high-acuity specialty where 'thinking on your feet' and having the courage to make decisions was needed - SICU / ICU / CCU. I'm not saying that those are the only specialties that require that, but IMO, those units require it more frequently

- A number came from L&D and had an advantage as most had significant experience being in the OR - maybe not in the scrub role, but they were comfortable in the surroundings, which can take time for some.

I think the biggest hurdle for most was learning 'Operating Room Etiquette', especially in a high-acuity specialty like CT. The surgeons are often very 'short' with people, don't like repeating things, and expect a very rigid hierarchy. I've rotated in a number of different specialties and CT is just something else - ALL communication is 'closed-loop'. You get yelled at, but if you have the skin to stick with it, you'll find it to be the most satisfying work out there. The ability to fix a broken heart is perhaps overblown, but that's what it is...nothing more...nothing less. It's high-stakes and when we lose a pt on the table, we lose that pt as a team and there is a special bond there that allows you to perform at a higher level than you ever thought possible.

More than happy to answer questions: [email protected]

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