Working In Surgery

What Will Your Days Look Like On The Job

what does a typical day look like?

There really is no “typical day” which is what makes working in surgery so exciting and challenging. There is a huge variety in hospitals and surgery centers and many types of cases that you will encounter. You could be working with adults or pediatrics, outpatient or inpatients, or even urgent emergencies. Everything from extended neuro cases, urgent bowel resections, to quick cataracts or tonsillectomies and everything in between. The main similarity is that you are the patient’s advocate, the coordinator between all of the OR team, and a leader, no matter where you work. The circulator is the one who keeps things moving, everyone informed and has many important responsibilities.

what type of facilities could i work at?

There are a variety of facilities that you could potentially work at. Large level I trauma centers will get you a variety of cases, particularly traumas, emergencies, more complicated cases that require an ICU stay, and critical inpatient surgeries. Midsized and smaller hospitals are the bread and butter of healthcare and there is a lot of variety in the surgeries they perform. Another great option are surgery centers. More and more procedures are being performed at surgery centers, due to the cost savings to the patient and the lack of a need for overnight stays as surgeries become less invasive, quicker and safer. Each facility has its pros and cons. For example, one benefit of the surgery center is that you will not be expected to work weekends or holidays. In contrast though, you may be required to stay late or leave early without much choice. A hospital may require you to take call, work some holidays, etc but it’s generally shift work, so once your shift is over you get to go home and your hours are more guaranteed. There are many other factors to consider, such as benefits, shifts available, salary and types of cases you will be doing but one thing is for sure, being a perioperative nurse gives you many options and opens many doors for your career. 

What Are The Most Important Roles As the Nurse In Surgery?

The circulating nurse has many important responsiblities.  He or she is responsible for setting the room up, making sure that all the necessary equipment is available and supplies and trays are opened and sterility is ensured. Secondly, acting as the patient advocate and gaining their trust quickly. You have a very short time to meet and speak with your patient, and it’s so important to gain their confidence and gain a sense of their wishes. Thirdly, coordinating the room and all off the team members to ensure a smooth case. Anticipating the needs of the surgeon and the team during the case is also hugely important. And lastly, another critical skill to have as an OR nurse is prioritizing. There will be many times when multiples things are being asked of you at the same time and knowing how to prioritize is crucial. These skills will come over time and as you become more experienced.