How to become an or nurse
Read About The Steps You Need To Start Your Career In The OR
Your future as a perioperative nurse starts here
Working in the OR doesn’t require a special path, it’s all about finding the right job that offers training to new grads or transitioning nurses! Hospitals are trending toward requiring BSN level nurses, but many smaller facilities and surgery centers may be happy to have an eager, ready to learn associate degree nurse. I was able to get a job at a surgery center first, with my associates degree. This job got me the necessary training and was the resume builder that landed me my second job at a small hospital. It’s here where I gained experience in a much broader variety of surgeries. Ultimately, I landed a job at a Level 2 trauma center in a large city. This hospital then incentivized me to obtain my bachelors degree by offering tuition reimbursement, and I graduated from a great online program that cost me nothing! You can take the “work your way up” approach as I did, or find a program that accepts new nurses and let them train you, although these programs typically require some type of contract or commitment. Many large hospital systems constantly need new nurses to fill staffing needs, and will train you for many months in perioperative nursing before you are expected to work on your own. Either way, you don’t need additional college education once you pass your NCLEX, to work in surgery. Once working in the field, there are options to become CNOR certified (read about that here), become a Certified First Assist (check that out here) or you can always decide to get your masters degree in nursing with many more career path options!
finding a mentor
Being new to the OR can be extremely overwhelming. There are so many new things to learn, types of surgeries, equipment, medications, sterile technique and so forth. Finding an experienced perioperative nurse who can be a sort of mentor to you will really help you. Someone who loves to teach and is patient with new learners. The OR is a fast paced environment and it’s easy to feel left out or not know what is really going on. Seeking out individuals who are willing to really explain and teach will make your transition much easier. Also remember that sometimes situations can get a bit crazy and the nurse may not have time to explain everything to you or seem rushed and rude, but they really aren’t trying to ignore you. The situation sometimes just requires direct action without time for explanations. Don’t take it personally and learn everything that you can. Eventually it will become second nature to you too and you’ll be the one teaching!
learning all that you can
It’s so important that as you gain years in surgery, that you continue to grow and learn. Things change constantly and every specialty has their own techniques, equipment, terms and ways of doing things. Become that master of your facility. Where things are located, what they are called, why surgeons use them, and so on. Continue to read articles and complete continuing education modules. Learn from those around you but always fact check. Sometimes things are done in a certain way just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Be a nurse who wants to do things the right way and champion changes that may need to occur in your facility. Strive to become certified and encourage those around you to also. Studying for your CNOR will increase your knowledge and make your a better surgical nurse. Continue to review the AORN standards and attend chapter meetings. We are responsible for our own education and our patients are depending on us!