Surgical operations need some cooperation with different healthcare professionals before, during and after the procedure. OR nurses or operating room nurses serve as an integral part of surgical team professionals.
What is an operating room nurse?
Operating room nurses or a short term for OR nurses are part of the surgical team who are responsible in planning, executing and evaluating nursing care that are provided to their patient. Their works starts with preoperative treatment to postoperative intervention and other duties that may help meet the needs of the patient throughout the entire procedure, making sure that continuity of care is executed during the patient’s surgical experience.
Duties of an operating room nurse
- OR nurses work with physicians in the operating room. They are responsible in tracking the vital signs of the patient during surgical operations and assist healthcare professionals like the anesthesiologist and general surgeons.
- After the surgical procedure, operating room nurses monitor their patients for possible complications and provide health education to their patients as well as their significant others regarding the process of recovery.
- OR nurses are responsible in directing and supervising nursing assistants and medical assistants in the operating room and make sure that proper surgical techniques are utilized based on the ideal standards. They direct nurses under their supervision, report significant changes on the patient, regularly document the patient’s records, complete incident reports that may take place, count instruments accurately such as needles, sponges and other surgical instruments present in the surgical unit.
- Operating room nurses may serve as scrub nurses if necessary and should prepare the surgical unit, position their patient, make sure that equipments are available and functional, adjust the surgical table based on standard policies and make sure that equipments are sterile. OR nurses observe for possible changes in their patient’s condition making sure that all medications are accurately administered and are charted, handles cultures and specimen as directed and assist for any administrative duties.
Conditions of work
The job of an operating nurse isn’t easy and is very stressful as they frequently handle critical life to death situations. Working hours are usually 40 hours weekly although overtime work may also happen. Some operating room nurses are also on an on-call duty.
In order to become an operating room nurse, candidates should first become a registered nurse. Bachelor degree in nursing usually lasts about 4 years. After pursuing a BSN degree, candidates are required to pass a state board exam which is the NCLEX-RN to practice as a nurse.
Occupation and Progress
The median wage for Operating Room nurses is about $48,000 per annum and may vary depending on the location, employer, work experience and benefits. Benefits and compensation may include dental and medical plans, flexible accounts, life insurance and disability insurance, sick and vacation leaves, tuition reimbursement, retirement plans and employee discounts.