Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

Why is OR so common for travel?

Travel   (348 Views 6 Comments)
by Aliens05 Aliens05 (Member)

Aliens05 has <1 years experience .

13 Likes; 1,525 Visitors; 98 Posts

advertisement

As a newer nurse I have a goal of getting experience in a specialty and potentially traveling in the future. I just accepted a job offer in med-surg so that will be where I start out at. 

In looking at travel jobs on several sites, I have noticed OR seems to always be the most common as well as one of the highest paying for travel nurses, and usually with better hours than most too. 

I was wondering if anyone knows why this would be the case? I have never worked in OR so I am imagining there is something about the position that causes this to be the case, but its a question of curiosity. 

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

41 Likes; 2 Followers; 44,050 Visitors; 5,238 Posts

Medsurg and ED are the largest specialties, and as a result, have the most travel assignments. OR is harder to staff for a number of reasons, and thus you might see more marketing.

This may cause some controversy, and is somewhat counter intuitive as OR is more technical than clinical, but it takes longer to train an OR nurse than most specialties, and it generally takes quite a bit longer to become competent in the large number of services that we work in than more narrow specialties. Higher trained nurses make more generally, especially in the free market environment of travel, and as there are fewer of them available, supply and demand rules apply.

There is another major reason why OR nurses command higher pay, they are necessary to the hospital's bottom line. Without them, surgeries cannot be done, and the hospital cannot bill for services, and inpatient days drop as well. Well staffed ORs are attractive to surgeons, and those who are poorly staffed lose surgeons and the tremendous revenue each one generates for hospitals.

In other areas, hospitals can stretch nurses among more patients. This actually lowers their costs in the short run.

As for the "good" schedules, OR nurses are just following when surgeons prefer to work which is during the daytime! Only the very largest of hospitals might have a night shift, and that is bare bones. The downside of OR nursing is taking call to cover those night and weekend emergency surgeries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aliens05 has <1 years experience.

13 Likes; 1,525 Visitors; 98 Posts

Thanks for the reply Ned, sounds like once I get some Med Surg experience I may want to look into OR next. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and works as a Staff nurse educator.

348 Likes; 4 Followers; 4 Articles; 102,428 Visitors; 8,563 Posts

What Ned said. In my OR, orientation, including the time period where we assign a resource nurse to 3 new nurses following their one-to-one preceptored orientation is 6 months. We can only fill a position when it is vacated or created, which means we can't just hire someone and expect them to be up and running in a short time (unless they have experience, but those are rare gems to find). Additionally, due to the length of orientation, many facilities may only hire once or twice a year to begin the intensive orientation program. So where do we turn when we're in a massive crunch when half the female staff ends up on maternity leave at the same time? To the travelers! Where do we turn when we create 18 new positions to open brand spanking new ORs and the new hires are all new to the OR and need that 6 months of orientation? To the travelers!

It also seems that a lot of OR nurses either come into the specialty and for the most part stay put (I work with nurses who have been in my OR for longer than I've been alive) or some of the newer nurses are now looking at not just changing jobs frequently, but changing specialties. Of the nurses we've lost this past year, 4 were to retirement, 1 was to ICU to gain the critical care experience for CRNA school, 2 were to NP positions, and 6 were to other inpatient nursing units. That's just the ones who stayed in nursing. We have 3 who left to become sales reps and one who left to return to construction work.

For perspective, I work in a department that employs 500 people within the OR, pre-op, post-op, PACU, endo, and sterile processing. We run 45 ORs and 5 endo procedure rooms daily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

41 Likes; 2 Followers; 44,050 Visitors; 5,238 Posts

I'll bet you have a night shift!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and works as a Staff nurse educator.

348 Likes; 4 Followers; 4 Articles; 102,428 Visitors; 8,563 Posts

1 hour ago, NedRN said:

I'll bet you have a night shift!

Indeed we do! With additional teams on call. We cover most specialties and the kitchen sink (except transplant and complex peds)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
advertisement
×