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Careers in Nursing | Operating Room Nurse

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Operating Room Nurse

Career Overview

Operating room nurses are RNs who perform direct patient care to patients undergoing
surgery or other invasive procedures. They can be involved in the preoperative, operative, or postoperative stages of surgery. As a result, their role may function based on the phase of the process in which they work. For example, a scrub nurse or a circulating nurse will work inside of the operating room to fulfill their responsibilities. A postanesthesia care nurse, however, will deliver a high level of nursing care to a patient in the immediate period following the surgical procedure. Other responsibilities include assessing patients prior to surgery, monitoring the patient during surgery, maintaining a safe and sterile surgical environment, acting as a liaison between the surgical team and families during surgery, and teaching patients and families about postoperative care. Operating room nurses work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, surgical technicians, and surgical assistants. Locations for employment include hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, clinics, or private practice.


RN preparation is required. Basic life support certification and often advanced cardiac life support certification are also required. Multiple certifications are available, including Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR), Certified RN First Assistant (CRNFA), and Certified Perioperative Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS-CP). Certification is encouraged and can be obtained through the Competency and Credentialing Institute.


  • Ability to maintain levelheadedness in times of stress
  • Collaboration skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Knowledge of the surgical process and the risks and benefits of surgical intervention
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Excellent assessment skills


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Operating Room Nurse Resources

Fast Facts for the Operating Room Nurse, Third Edition image

Fast Facts for the Operating Room Nurse, Third Edition


New OR nurses will welcome the third edition of this handy orientation-in-a-book, which distills volumes of operating room knowledge into one concise resource. Presenting complex skills and techniques in a simple and easy-to-follow format, the third edition is newly updated with AORN's 2021 guidelines and contains new chapters on Emergency Preparedness for Disaster, and Lifelong Learning and Professional Development.This pocket-sized resource delivers current, evidence-based information in all the key areas of perioperative nursing with updated standards and techniques. Written in bulleted format with brief paragraphs, this guide is organized to provide quick access to essential information on basic preparation, safety guidelines, and day-to-day practice in the OR. Beginning with surgery preparation, chapters then address the practice environment and surgical supplies, followed by basic surgical procedures.New to the Third Edition:Updated with 2021 AORN guidelines and regulat...

Fast Facts for the Medical- Surgical Nurse image

Fast Facts for the Medical- Surgical Nurse


Written for registered nurses in orientation, this concise, user-friendly resource provides a complete picture of all components of excellent patient care on a busy medical-surgical nursing unit. It covers assessment, key clinical skills/procedures, and documentation of care in an easily digestible, bulleted format. Time-tested guidance about new nurse orientation to professional practice includes "proven pearls for success." Content is current and evidence-based, and reinforces previously mastered skills in "key points to remember" sections. The theme of "the big picture" of patient care is a consistent thread throughout. Clinical chaptersorganized by body system for easy reference--present common conditions seen in medical-surgical nursing and unit emergencies, along with focused assessments, lab work overview, related procedures and skills, a documentation guide, and common medications including those for pain management. Chapters also cover pre-operative and post-operati...

Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR®) Review image

Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR®) Review


Note to Readers: Publisher does not guarantee quality or access to any included digital components if book is purchased through a third-party seller.Includes 6 months' free ExamPrepConnect digital access with print purchase!Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR®) Review is designed to help you prepare for the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) certification exam. This comprehensive study aid is organized according to the latest CNOR® exam content outline. Content is presented in a templated, easy-to-read format, providing a targeted review that promotes knowledge retention. Tips and key points highlight key information to remember on exam day. Each chapter covers everything you need to know to pass the exam and includes end-of-chapter questions to check your knowledge. The review concludes with a full-length practice test to get you ready for exam day. With more than 400 practice questions, detailed review content and answer rationales, and access to ExamPrepC...