What does an OR nurse do?

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What is an OR Nurse?

An OR (operating room) nurse is a specialized registered nurse who works in the surgical department of a hospital or other medical facility. OR nurses are an essential part of the surgical team, providing critical care before, during, and after surgical procedures. They are responsible for ensuring that patients are prepared for surgery, assisting surgeons during the procedure, and monitoring patients' vital signs and overall well-being throughout the surgery.

In addition to their technical duties, OR nurses are also responsible for providing emotional support to patients and their families before and after surgery. They must have a high level of knowledge and expertise in surgical procedures, including anatomy and physiology, sterile technique, and the use of medical equipment. OR nurses must also be able to communicate effectively with other members of the surgical team, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical technologists, to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care.

What does an OR Nurse do?

An OR nurse in the operating room.

Duties and Responsibilities
OR nurses have a range of duties and responsibilities before, during, and after surgical procedures. Their primary role is to assist the surgical team in providing safe, effective, and efficient patient care. Below is a detailed description of the duties and responsibilities of OR nurses:

  • Pre-operative responsibilities: Before surgery, OR nurses perform a variety of tasks such as verifying patient information, reviewing medical records, preparing the surgical room, and ensuring that all necessary equipment and supplies are available. They also perform pre-operative assessments on patients, including reviewing medical histories, taking vital signs, and administering medications as needed.
  • Intra-operative responsibilities: During surgery, OR nurses play a crucial role in maintaining a sterile environment and monitoring patients' vital signs. They assist surgeons with procedures, prepare and maintain medical equipment, and ensure that all safety protocols are followed. They are also responsible for managing medications and anesthesia, as well as managing any complications that may arise during the procedure.
  • Post-operative responsibilities: After surgery, OR nurses closely monitor patients in the recovery room to ensure that they are stable and comfortable. They monitor vital signs, manage pain, administer medications, and assist with wound care. They also educate patients and their families on post-operative care, including proper medication administration and wound care.
  • Administrative duties: OR nurses may also be responsible for administrative tasks such as maintaining patient records, ordering supplies, and scheduling surgeries. They may also participate in quality improvement activities and staff education.

Types of OR Nurses
There are different types of operating room nurses, depending on their level of education, training, and experience. Here are some common types:

  • Registered Nurse (RN) - This is the most common type of OR nurse, who has completed a nursing program and passed the NCLEX-RN exam. RNs in the OR provide direct patient care, monitor vital signs, administer medications, and assist the surgeon and anesthesia provider.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) - These are advanced practice nurses who have completed a graduate-level program in anesthesia and are certified to administer anesthesia. CRNAs work with the anesthesia team to provide safe and effective anesthesia to patients.
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP) - NPs are advanced practice nurses who have completed a master's or doctoral degree in nursing and have specialized training in a particular area. Some NPs work in the OR as surgical assistants or perioperative consultants.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) - These are advanced practice nurses who have completed a master's or doctoral degree and have specialized knowledge and skills in a particular area of nursing. Some CNSs specialize in perioperative nursing and work in the OR as perioperative consultants, educators, or managers.
  • Nurse Educator - These are nurses who have specialized training in education and teach nursing students or new OR nurses. They may also develop and implement training programs for OR staff.
  • Nurse Manager - These are nurses who have leadership and management skills and oversee the operations of the OR. They may be responsible for staffing, budgeting, quality improvement, and patient safety.
  • Surgical First Assistant (SFA) - These are nurses who have completed additional training and certification to assist the surgeon during surgical procedures. SFAs may perform tasks such as suturing, hemostasis, and wound closure.

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What is the workplace of an OR Nurse like?

The workplace of an operating room nurse can be fast-paced, challenging, and demanding. OR nurses work in hospital settings, typically in the surgical suite, and are responsible for providing nursing care to patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. The surgical suite can be a bustling environment with multiple surgeries happening at once, and OR nurses need to be able to remain focused and organized in this dynamic setting.

One of the primary responsibilities of an OR nurse is to prepare patients for surgery. This involves reviewing the patient's medical history, ensuring that all necessary tests have been completed, and providing information about the surgery and what to expect during and after the procedure. OR nurses also prepare the surgical suite, ensuring that all necessary equipment and supplies are on hand and that the environment is sterile and safe.

During surgery, OR nurses assist the surgeon and surgical team by providing the necessary equipment and supplies, monitoring the patient's vital signs, and ensuring that the surgical environment remains sterile. OR nurses need to be able to anticipate the needs of the surgical team and respond quickly and effectively to any changes or complications that arise during the procedure.

After surgery, OR nurses continue to provide care to patients as they recover from anesthesia and begin the postoperative healing process. This may involve monitoring the patient's vital signs, administering medications, and providing support and education to the patient and their family members.

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OR Nurses are also known as:
Perioperative Nurse Operating Room Nurse