An operating room nurse is a registered nurse who assists surgeons in an operating room in a hospital or clinic and provides care for patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. They also educate patients regarding their upcoming procedures and assess them on a number of health scales before the operation.
Before operations, these nurses educate patients about their procedures and take and monitor their vital signs, as well as administer and record their prescribed medications. During operations, they hand surgeons the correct medical instruments to use, and they may also have to respond to life-saving situations according to nursing protocols. They must have good bedside manner and superior communication skills, and should also be able to think and react quickly to high-stress situations. General good health and the ability to stand for many hours at a time are also required.
Operating room nurses must be registered nurses (RNs) and successfully complete nursing certificate programs, which generally take one year. Two years of preoperative experience (2,400) are required before a nurse-in-training can take an accredited certification program to become a fully-certified nurse.
Operating room nurses interact extensively with patients and may work a wide range of hours depending on the employer, and some may work rather long shifts for many days in a row. Their work environment can vary greatly depending on the size of the hospital or medical institution, and their co-workers generally include surgeons, other nurses, hospital staff, and receptionists.