Hello Readers, Today we have bought yet another insightful article on the nursing career!

In this article, we will share the tips, tricks, and requirements on how to become an OR Nurse.

By the end of this article, you will know the skills, requirements, education, and step-by-step process of becoming an OR Nurse.

We will cover the following in this article:

  • Responsibilities of an OR Nurse
  • Skills required to become an OR Nurse 
  • Education/certification/qualification required to become OR Nurse
  • Step-by-step process on how to become an OR Nurse


Introduction on how to become an OR nurse

Operating room (OR) Nurses are trained to serve the patient before, during, and after the surgery.

They provide help and support to the doctor during the operation, and they provide patient care pre, post, and during the surgery.

Healthcare places like hospitals, medical centers, etc., have a lot of Registered Nurses.

These Nurses have to look after all the departments.

For example, some Nurses handle critical care, pediatrics, physicians’ offices, etc.

The nursing positions depend on the nursing specialties.

Some of the departments require clinical experience as well as specific training.

For example, the Operating Room Nurse needs to be trained to provide service in the operating room.

As the OR Nurse provides service and cares for the patient, they also have the responsibility to help the Doctor or Surgeon perform the surgery.

The OR Nurses are Nurses who have gone through nursing programs, hold BSN degrees from an accredited school of nursing, and follow the path of never-ending learning.

They make sure to keep fulfilling the educational requirement of their nursing position.

Skills Required to Become an OR Nurse 

Required Skills of an OR Nurse Practitioner

Healthcare settings often have operation rooms or surgery departments.

This raises a need for a Perioperative Nurse.

To become a Perioperative Nurse or an OR Nurse, the Registered Nurse needs to go through another level of education.

The professional development through this advanced education makes them capable of advanced practice required in the care units.

Apart from education, there are certain skills required by the healthcare facility for a Nurse to move forward in their career path to become an OR Nurse.

The skills required are:

  • Multi-tasker: The OR Nurse juggles a lot of nursing roles

They need to be able to handle many tasks at once and focus on each task.

For example, an Operation Nurse needs to help the doctor while providing patient care, and they may also have to pass the tools to the Doctor, etc.

So, the OR Nurse’s duties require someone who can handle the pressure and the workload.

  • Great Communication Skills: Being in the operating room is a tough job

The Nurse, Surgeons, and Doctors present need to make quick moves and be great at communication.

They should also be able to understand what the other care provider wants at that moment and take fast action.

  • Flexible: The Operation Room Nurse should be flexible and be able to operate on fewer hours of sleep or no food

The surgeries can be very long.

The nursing job in OR has a prerequisite of the OR Nurse being able to be active and responsive during all those hours.

It is critical patient care, and no negligence can be done.

  • Work under Challenging Environment: The Registered Nurse or any nursing specialties requires the Nurse to be able to cope and perform well in a challenging environment

Especially in the operating room and during the surgery, the situation can become tense and stressful.

However, the Nurse should be able to handle it and give their best.

  • Pay Attention to the Details: During the surgery, it is stressful

The Doctors or Surgeons are giving instructions, which can be overwhelming at times.

But the patient’s life depends on the people in the operating room.

Therefore, the OR Nurses should be able to pay close attention to every instruction given by the Surgeon, every movement, and every vital sign of the patient and keep the Surgeon informed if any changes occur.

  • Technical Skills: During the certification program, the Nurses are taught a lot in the classroom

They are also given hands-on clinical experience, but certain technical skills are also a part of the OR Nurse job description.

Clinical Nurse Specialists have a lot of knowledge about their nursing job, but they still have to learn about the technical difficulties.

Especially in the OR, the patient is tied to a lot of machines.

These machines need to be adjusted and monitored.

The reading is also technical and difficult to comprehend.

The Nursing Assistant in the OR will be requested to give the reading and results to the Surgeon during the surgery, so it is important for the Nurse to understand all these things.

  • Emotionally Stable:  The OR Nurse can go through various threatening situations in the operation room

If the Nurse is emotionally weak and cannot handle critical conditions, they may be a liability to the OR team.

OR nursing requires a lot of physical as well as emotional stamina.

OR RN needs to have a strong mind to deal with any situation that may come their way.

In addition, the OR job itself is very straining and demanding.

An OR Nurse needs to have all these skills and more to perform their job well and help the patient, surgeons, and the family members of the patients.

Responsibilities of OR Nurses 

Responsibilities of OR Nurses 

The OR Nurses have many more responsibilities than just being present at the time of surgery and helping the surgeon team perform the surgery.

This is why the Surgical Nurse’s duties are segmented and divided.

For example, some Preop Nurses prepare the operating room for the surgery; they would prepare the instruments, the bed, check the machines, etc.

Even the Operating Room Nurse’s salary depends on experience, education, and responsibilities.

The Operating Room Nurse jobs require Operating Room Nurse certification as there are a lot more responsibilities for the Nurse.

Some of the responsibilities are as follows:

  • Scrub Nurse: The Nurse is given the responsibility to sterile the operating room, put in sterile instruments, prepare the room for the surgery, etc.

The Nurse will have to visit the operating room way before the surgery starts and make sure everything is okay.

  • Circulating Nurse: These Nurses are there to make sure that everything is okay

They make sure that consent forms are filled out by the patient’s family members or signed by the patient themselves.

They make the pre-op assessments to ensure a hurdle-free surgery.

  • Nurse Assistant: These can be Registered Nurses performing the Nursing Assistant to the Surgeon

They help stop the bleeding, apply the dressing, look for signs of complications, etc. Nursing care is crucial.

They need to be vigilant and respond immediately.

  • Nurse Anesthetists: They administer anesthesia to the patient and take care of the patient in the PACU (post-operative care unit)

They make sure the anesthesia was given in the right amount, and there are no signs of the patient slipping into a coma or any other complication.

  • Operating room directors:  The Nurses with master’s degrees or competency to manage budgets and managerial work are posted in this department

They take care of all the financial work.

At times you also have to take care of outpatients who come in with complaints of some sort from their recent surgeries; it is also the job of an OR Nurse to look after them and provide proper care.

There are many more Operating Room Nurse duties.

All those listed above are the most common ones.

The duties vary from surgery to surgery.

The coursework of becoming an OR Nurse may be the same, but the clinical experience may differ a lot.

Steps on How to Become an OR Nurse

Steps on How to Become an OR Nurse

Step 1

Once you have decided to become a Nurse, your basic education to become a Nurse would be a BSN program.

However, you will have to get a bachelor’s degree first in order to choose your path further.

Step 2

After the BSN degree, you need to sit for a state exam to become a Registered Nurse.

The RN licensing exam is known in the States as the NCLEX-RN or the National Council Licensure Examination.

This nursing license gives the Nurse the go-ahead to perform their duties as Nurses in any healthcare facility or medical center.

Step 3

Once you have cleared the licensing exam, you need to get the training and experience to become an OR Nurse.

The nursing degree gives you all the classroom education you need to become a Nurse, but the training will make you suitable for a job as tough as an OR Nurse.

Before training, you can also go for an MSN – Master of Science in Nursing or any other Associate Degree in Nursing.

This will give you more credentials to get hired in a good healthcare facility.

For OR Nurse: The Nurse needs to get an additional year of training.

This will give them pre-operative, intra-operative, and general post-operative training.

You can get this training on the job at hospitals or medical centers, and there are also certification programs for it.

In addition, the AORN (Associate of Peri-Operative Registered Nurses) has online courses for Nurses to get OR training.

Step 4  

After you have done your training, it is time for you to get certified as an OR Nurse.

This certification can also increase your annual salary significantly.

There are three certifications available:

  • CNOR: It means to be certified to meet the identified standard of practice to provide nursing care to the patient before, during, and after the surgery.
  • CFPN: Certified Foundational Peri-Operative Nurse
  • CNAMB: Certified Ambulatory Surgery Nurse

After completing all the steps, you are eligible to perform duties as an OR Nurse anywhere in the US.

Education and Qualification for Becoming an OR Nurse

Education Requirements, Licensure, and Certification

Nursing education is an extensive path.

It is never-ending, and Nurses can always move forward by gaining more knowledge through additional courses or training.

A Registered Nurse can become a Nurse Practitioner or a Nurse Educator if they strive to learn more and polish their skills.

The competency of the Nurse increases through each degree program.

At the base level, to become a Nurse, a person needs to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Then, after having a BSN degree, they need to appear at a state-level licensing exam.

This makes them Registered Nurses.

After clearing the NCLEX-RN, they can further decide their path.

Some want to stay at this level, but some want to specialize in certain parts.

For example, some Nurses may want to become Pediatric Nurses, and some may want to serve in Physicians’ offices, etc.

The nursing career depends on the level of education and training you have.

The salary, according to BLS, also depends on the education and nursing position in the healthcare facility.

There is no specific degree for becoming an OR Nurse, but there are certification programs, as listed above.

You can also be a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) and be taking a certification course to become an OR Nurse.

It depends on your interest and the certifications are valid for 5years and are given by CCI (Competency and Credentialing Institute).

Although, training is important to become a Perioperative Nurse.

As it is critical care and requires many skills, training is necessary.

You can also get certification online.

There is accreditation as per the institute.

If you have done a certification program from an accredited institute.

In that case, it will make you a more reliable candidate for a job at a good healthcare facility in most US states.


Conclusion on how to become an OR nurse

As an immensely respected profession, Nurses need a lot of learning and growth.

Learning is always going on.

There is always a new course, a new certificate, etc.

To be stable and have better job opportunities, keep upgrading your education and training.

OR Nurses should be Licensed Practical Nurses to earn a higher salary.

The level of education and training will decide the level of income and the nursing position.

It is critical care to take care of a patient before, during, and after the surgery; that is why it is inevitable to have proper training.


FAQs on How to Become an OR Nurse

Are Operating Room Nurses in demand?

OR Nurses are also in high demand. There is always a need for medical staff to take care of patients. OR Nurses are needed for a specific department but can assist in any type of surgery. Any medical facility with an operating room will need a few OR Nurses.

Can a Nurse perform surgery?

Generally, the answer is no, but the OR Nurses get exclusive training to become OR Nurses. So, in a few crucial situations like in an ambulance or on shortage of Surgeons, they have the required skills to do a general surgery to save the life until a proper procedure can be done.

How much do Surgical Nurses make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, the average annual salary of an OR Nurse differs from state to state. The income also depends on experience, education, and responsibilities. A rough idea given by the Bureau of Statistics is that an average annual salary is near $89,000.

How long does it take to become an OR Nurse?

Becoming a Registered Nurse may take you around 5 years. This includes the license exam. it will mean one year of additional training. This means you can become an OR Nurse in about 7 years. If you want to have an MSN or DPN, it will take longer.

Is OR Nurse a specialty?

Yes, OR Nurse is a specialty. It requires a certification course and needs proper training to be able to be an OR Nurse.





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