20+ Ways to Tell If You Are an Operating Room Nurse
The Super-Nurse, Otherwise Known as the OR Nurse
Operating room nursing is a very special calling. Not everyone is cut out for it, and most will not put up with it. However, there is much fun to be had if you make it through the first year! You will bond with the staff and make some good friends.
OR nursing requires stamina and quick-thinking on your feet. Whether you are circulating or scrubbing, there never seems to be any time to sit. It is the ever-moving and ever-changing calling of the few, the proud, and the crazy. (Note: You will understand this if you are an OR nurse!)
We live in a world of booming technology, evolving technique, and ever-changing surgeon preferences: Change is the only constant. If you can't live with change on a minute-to-minute basis, don't even come here!
At times, the surgeons will yell at you and call you the stupidest group of people he has ever met. Other times, they shake your hand and say, "Thank you. I couldn't have done it without you." If you are easily flustered or take it personally when people yell at you, you will not make it in an operating room.
And you have to like to work. The longest I have ever worked consecutively is 26 hours. It was a busy day and night! We are the makers and the shakers. As far as I can tell, even truck drivers may not work so long. However, when you start in an OR, you will find out that you are miraculous. Suddenly, you will have powers not endowed on the normal mortal!
Extraordinary stamina, the ability to be in two places at the same time, and more will be expected of you. The ordinary calls of nature (like bathroom breaks, lunch, and a drink of water) will be below you...or at least that is what your surgeons will believe. You will become the super-nurse, the OR nurse!
How Do You Know You Are an Operating Room (OR) Nurse?
Here are 18 ways to tell:
- You have seen so many “privates” you would no longer recognize a "major."
- All the things people don’t like about you make you really good at your job.
- You go to work in the middle of the night in your “pajamas" and don't change when there is a stat section.
- You don't think it is strange when people say, "I've never seen you with hair before."
- It is commonplace to be yelled at if you make someone wait 30 seconds.
- You talk about pus while you eat.
- You yell "Code Brown" to get the surgeon out of the room.
- You will eat anything in the lounge, even jalapeño pretzels.
- You “tie up” your doctors and everyone thinks it is okay.
- When they see you out shopping, people tell you, “I’ve never seen you in clothes before.”
- You sleep when you can, eat when you can, and sometimes it’s just easier to put in a foley catheter!
- When you are out with your friends, you can anticipate who needs a drink two minutes before they ask.
- You also know who will be early, who will be late, and who will be on time, and plan accordingly.
- You do not listen to the conversation until someone says, "I need," "I might," "I think," only to find out you thought of that already.
- Your anticipation skills are so good people swear you are a mind-reader.
- Five people can be yelling at you at the same time and you do not get flustered or upset.
- You can get someone to trust you with their lives in five minutes or less.
- You are so aware of your personal space, your friends swear you have eyes in the back of your head.
- You have the cleanest kitchen and bathroom in town.
- You have thought "where is anesthesia?" when someone is droning on about a boring story.
- You know more about infection control than the infection control nurse does.
More Things All OR Nurses Know
The difference between an OR nurse and a perioperative nurse.
All OR nurses are perioperative nurses, but not all perioperative nurses are OR nurses. The perioperative period is considered to encompass the care given prior to the surgery, the surgery, and the care given after the surgery. Pre-op or holding nurses are responsible for getting the patient ready for surgery, OR nurses take care of the patient during surgery, and PACU or recovery room nurses care for the patient after surgery before the patient goes to another unit or goes home. All of these nurses are considered perioperative nurses.
How little time is there between cases in the OR.
Usually there's a 15-minute turnover for simpler cases such as hernias or gallbladder. A 30-minute turnover is appropriate for large cases such as total joints.
How fascinating OR nurses are.
OR nurses are instantly popular in any social setting. All they have to do is tell some of the stories about the remarkable and crazy things they see every day.
Be More Than You Thought You Could Be
You too can be more than you ever thought you could be. You can achieve that super-human status, otherwise known as an OR nurse. There are never enough of the good ones, so you will always have a job. If you would like to escape from the uncertainty of the economy, become an OR nurse. Not only will you always work, but at times you will work more than you would like to. That's okay, though. because you are doing what you love.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
How long before [the] next case?
Usually a 15 minute turnover for simpler cases such as hernias or gallbladder. A 30-minute turnover is appropriate for large cases such as total joints.Helpful 37
Is an OR nurse the same as a perioperative nurse?
All OR nurses are perioperative nurses, but not all perioperative nurses are OR nurses. The perioperative period is considered to encompass the care given prior to the surgery, the surgery, and the care given after the surgery. Preop or holding nurses are responsible for getting the patient ready for surgery, OR nurses take care of the patient during surgery and PACU or recovery room nurses care for the patient after surgery before the patient goes to another unit or goes home. All of these nurses are considered perioperative nurses.Helpful 28
Is operating room nursing a specialty in nursing?
Yes, OR nursing is a specialty. Unless you are trained specifically for the OR you cannot perform safely.Helpful 25
Why were these interviews done in front of an MRI instead of in an OR suite?
I did not make the video. I imagine that the people who made it could not get an OK to film it in an OR.Helpful 19
© 2009 Kari Poulsen