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Operating Room Nurse

An operating room (OR) or perioperative nurse is a nurse who assesses, implements interventions and manages patients being prepped for surgery, during surgery and post-surgery. They can work in a hospital setting, surgical center or day surgery center and can specialize in different surgical areas such as thoracic, neurological, orthopaedic, endoscopy, etc. and provide care to adults and children. OR nurses work closely with surgeons, anaesthesiologists, nurse anaesthetists, surgical technologists, and nurse practitioners.

Nurses in this field have specialized training in one or more of the following areas: pre-operative, intra-operative (scrub nurse/circulating nurse), RN first assist, post-operative and post-anesthesia recovery. An advanced practice RN can also have advanced training to practice as a nurse anesthetist.

Nurses in this specialty can provide reports and give testimony on all aspects of the standard of care in these areas including but not limited to: overall care of the patient before, during and after surgery, safe equipment and instrument use, sterile procedures, documentation of procedures and more. The OR nurse’s role is critical for safe patient care and their assessments are vital in stabilizing and discharging patient’s post-surgery.

Operating Room Nurse Organizations & Certifications


Our featured OR experts

Expert 4482 has been an Operating Room nurse for most of his 30+ years as an RN. He has authored and presented or co-presented on operating room topics in the USA and abroad. As well, he is a clinical assistant at UCLA, a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) and a consultant for the California Board of Registered Nurses. Expert 4482 lives in California but is available for work in nursing standards of care and other expert work nationwide.

Expert 6962 has been a registered nurse for 35 years, has clinical and manager experience in hospital, ambulatory care and office settings. She has been the manager of the operating room in the plastic surgery department for 19 years – these areas include pre-op, OR and PACU. She has publications in the Plastic Surgery Nursing Journal as well as American Journal of Nursing. This expert resides in New Jersey but is available nation wide. For more on this expert click here.

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