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3 Roles of OR Nurses

20131205_or_nursesThe wee hours of the morning have arrived, and you just sat down for a coffee break. As you take the first sip, your break is cut short when you are paged to the operating room (OR) for an emergency surgery. A patient has just been brought in and needs emergency coronary bypass surgery.

Whether you feel ready to deal with it or not, your mind had certainly better be ready. In the OR, there is no room for attitudes, errors or procrastinating. Nurses must hit the ground running and be ready to snap into action at the drop of a hat.

How can a person transition from drinking a cup of coffee one minute to making sure a patient’s life doesn’t slip away the next minute? Understanding these three OR nurse roles may help:

  • Circulator nurse: A circulator nurse is responsible for providing a safe environment and nursing care in the operating room. He or she dispenses sterile instruments and monitors the operating room during surgery.
  • Scrub nurse: A scrub nurse works in the surgery room and handles sterile instruments, sponges and any other items during the procedure. These nurses must know which instruments are needed and ensure the surgeon has the right items for the procedure.
  • RNFA: The registered nurse first assistant has additional training to directly assist with surgical procedures. He or she helps the surgeon with various tasks and may assist in suturing at the close of the surgery.

With these important jobs entrusted to them, OR nurses must stay focused and work together. When nurses are new to the operating room, they quickly learn that excitement and anxiety do not contribute anything positive.

Teams of doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists strive to work together and solve squabbles immediately. Without teamwork, tension and anxiety can easily surface and bring disaster.

However, professionals working as a team tend to remain calm and collected simply because they have no other choice. They grow as a team and learn to trust each other.

OR nurses must also learn new information quickly and continuously. This would be nearly impossible for an anxious or nervous person to accomplish. Each new patient has his or her own needs, and every surgery is unique.

When OR nurses are in action, they know that a person’s life is in their hands. Being calm and collected is simply a necessary choice for all OR nurses.

Want to work in the OR? Apply for one of RNnetwork’s OR travel nursing jobs!

Sources: Mayo Clinic, NurseSource.org


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