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Become An Operating Room Nurse

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Working As An Operating Room Nurse

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $82,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Operating Room Nurse Do

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

Duties

Registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Most registered nurses work as part of a team with physicians and other healthcare specialists. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides.

Registered nurses’ duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with. For example, an oncology nurse may work with cancer patients or a geriatric nurse may work with elderly patients. Some registered nurses combine one or more areas of practice. For example, a pediatric oncology nurse works with children and teens who have cancer.

Many possibilities for working with specific patient groups exist. The following list includes just a few examples:

Addiction nurses care for patients who need help to overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other substances.

Cardiovascular nurses care for patients with heart disease and people who have had heart surgery.

Critical care nurses work in intensive-care units in hospitals, providing care to patients with serious, complex, and acute illnesses and injuries that need very close monitoring and treatment.

Genetics nurses provide screening, counseling, and treatment for patients with genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.

Neonatology nurses take care of newborn babies.

Nephrology nurses care for patients who have kidney-related health issues stemming from diabetes, high blood pressure, substance abuse, or other causes.

Rehabilitation nurses care for patients with temporary or permanent disabilities.

Registered nurses may work to promote public health, by educating people on warning signs and symptoms of disease or managing chronic health conditions. They may also run health screenings, immunization clinics, blood drives, or other community outreach programs. Other nurses staff the health clinics in schools.

Some nurses do not work directly with patients, but they must still have an active registered nurse license. For example, they may work as nurse educators, healthcare consultants, public policy advisors, researchers, hospital administrators, salespeople for pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, or as medical writers and editors.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). They provide direct patient care in one of many nursing specialties, such as psychiatric-mental health or pediatrics. CNSs also provide indirect care, by working with other nurses and various other staff to improve the quality of care that patients receive. They often serve in leadership roles and may educate and advise other nursing staff. CNSs also may conduct research and may advocate for certain policies.

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How To Become An Operating Room Nurse

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed.

Education

In all nursing education programs, students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. BSN programs typically take 4 years to complete; ADN and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. All programs include supervised clinical experience.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually include additional education in the physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. These programs also offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. A bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.

Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.

Many registered nurses with an ADN or diploma choose to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the nursing profession and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 or more years of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing can give details. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers require it.

CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must be able to assess changes in the health status of patients, including determining when to take corrective action and when to make referrals.

Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and assess their health conditions. Nurses need to explain instructions, such as how to take medication, clearly. They must be able to work in teams with other health professionals and communicate the patients’ needs.

Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when caring for patients.

Detail oriented. Registered nurses must be responsible and detail oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.

Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to manage their emotions to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients with various health needs. Organizational skills are critical to ensure that each patient is given appropriate care.

Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as moving patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.

Advancement

Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals or community health settings. With experience, good performance, and continuous education, they can move to other settings or be promoted to positions with more responsibility.

In management, nurses can advance from assistant clinical nurse manager, charge nurse, or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles, such as assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions are requiring a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, communication skills, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of healthcare. Their nursing expertise and experience on a healthcare team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Some RNs choose to become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs may provide primary and specialty care, and in many states they may prescribe medications.

Other nurses work as postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities.

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Operating Room Nurse Career Paths

Operating Room Nurse
Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Registered Nurse Case Manager
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Team Leader Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Research Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager
Director Of Case Management
11 Yearsyrs
Clinical Research Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Nurse Manager
Chief Nursing Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Clinical Research Nurse School Nurse Case Manager
Utilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Home Health Nurse School Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Home Health Nurse School Nurse Nurse Manager
Nursing Services Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Home Health Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Nurse Manager
Emergency Services Director
10 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Director Of Quality Management
13 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Consultant Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Clinical Manager
Manager Of Clinical Services
10 Yearsyrs
Clinic Registered Nurse Nurse Case Manager Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Property Manager Asset Manager
Manager, Asset Management
10 Yearsyrs
Office Nurse Nurse Case Manager Patient Care Manager
Medical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Nurse Nurse Coordinator Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Nurse Nurse Case Manager Clinical Manager
Hospice Director
12 Yearsyrs
Critical Care Nurse Clinical Coordinator Clinical Social Worker
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Coordinator Clinical Social Worker Social Work Case Manager
Geriatric Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Nurse 6.0 years
Vascular Nurse 4.4 years
Scrub Nurse 4.3 years
Circulating Nurse 3.5 years
Surgical Nurse 3.4 years
Step-Down Nurse 2.9 years
Telemetry Nurse 2.9 years
Burn Center Nurse 2.7 years
Circulator 2.7 years
Ward Nurse 2.3 years
Top Careers Before Operating Room Nurse
Staff Nurse 26.1%
Nurse 9.5%
Top Careers After Operating Room Nurse
Staff Nurse 18.7%
Nurse 9.2%

Do you work as an Operating Room Nurse?

Operating Room Nurse Demographics

Gender

Female

72.1%

Unknown

14.9%

Male

13.0%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.3%

French

6.3%

Russian

4.2%

Portuguese

4.2%

Arabic

4.2%

Hindi

2.1%

Mandarin

2.1%

Korean

2.1%

Ukrainian

2.1%

Filipino

2.1%

Tagalog

2.1%

Chinese

2.1%

German

2.1%

Polish

2.1%

Turkish

1.0%

Gujarati

1.0%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Armenian

1.0%

Cantonese

1.0%

Urdu

1.0%
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Operating Room Nurse Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.7%

Chamberlain College of Nursing

11.6%

Walden University

10.0%

Grand Canyon University

9.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

6.0%

Western Governors University

4.8%

Kaplan University

3.7%

Ohio University -

3.3%

Excelsior College

3.3%

South University

3.3%

University of Cincinnati

3.1%

University of Saint Francis

2.9%

New York University

2.9%

Indiana Wesleyan University

2.9%

Ball State University

2.7%

Saint Louis University-

2.5%

University of South Alabama

2.5%

Drexel University

2.5%

Regis University

2.3%

Texas Woman's University

2.3%
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Majors

Nursing

82.2%

Business

3.1%

Nursing Science

3.0%

Family Practice Nursing

1.6%

Health Care Administration

1.6%

Education

1.3%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.9%

Management

0.8%

Psychology

0.7%

Clinical Psychology

0.7%

Public Health

0.7%

Nursing Assistants

0.7%

Medical Technician

0.4%

Military Applied Sciences

0.4%

Elementary Education

0.4%

Biology

0.3%

Health Sciences And Services

0.3%

General Studies

0.3%

Liberal Arts

0.3%

Medicine

0.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.6%

Associate

21.1%

Masters

20.4%

Other

10.3%

Diploma

3.0%

Certificate

2.1%

Doctorate

1.7%

License

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$82,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$47,000
Min 10%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$141,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
trustaff
Highest Paying City
Dallas, TX
Highest Paying State
Minnesota
Avg Experience Level
4.7 years
How much does an Operating Room Nurse make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Operating Room Nurse in the United States is $82,289 per year or $40 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $47,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $142,000.

Real Operating Room Nurse Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Operating Room Registered Nurse Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center Patchogue, NY Dec 16, 2012 $90,304
Operating Room Registered Nurse Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center Patchogue, NY Dec 16, 2015 $83,209
Operating Room (Peri-Operative) Registered Nurse Westways Staffing Services, Inc. Orange, CA Oct 01, 2011 $77,720
Operating Room (Peri-Operative) Registered Nurse Westways Staffing Services, Inc. San Bernardino, CA Oct 01, 2011 $75,816
Operating Room Nurse Lenox Hill Hospital New York, NY Apr 15, 2010 $75,445
Operating Room Nurse Management Health Systems, Inc. Santa Barbara, CA Sep 10, 2013 $74,422
Operating Room Registered Nurse Phelps Memorial Hospital Association Sleepy Hollow, NY Dec 21, 2009 $72,899
Operating Room Nurse Philippine Nursing Network, LLC Walnut Creek, CA Aug 05, 2010 $70,311
Operating Room Nurse Philippine Nursing Network, LLC Walnut Creek, CA Oct 01, 2010 $70,311
Operating Room Nurse Philippine Nursing Network, LLC Walnut Creek, CA Jan 15, 2011 $70,311
Operating Room Registered Nurse Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center Patchogue, NY Dec 15, 2009 $67,347 -
$39
Operating Room Nurse Montgomery General Hospital Inc. Olney, MD Mar 28, 2011 $66,784
Operating Room Nurse St. Barnabas Hospital New York, NY Jul 01, 2010 $66,159
Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center Springfield, OR Sep 19, 2013 $64,542 -
$97,510
Operating Room Registered Nurse San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital GA Sep 14, 2012 $64,467
Operating Room Registered Nurse San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital Banning, CA Sep 14, 2012 $64,467
Operating Room Nurse Desert Valley Hospital Victorville, CA Nov 09, 2011 $64,355
Operating Room Registered Nurse ADEX Medical Staffing, LLC Washington, DC Nov 10, 2009 $63,779
Operating Room Nurse Management Health Systems, Inc. Miami, FL Sep 11, 2012 $56,349
Operating Room Nurse Management Health Systems, Inc. Miami, FL Aug 12, 2012 $56,349
Operating Room Staff Nurse Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Atlanta, GA Aug 15, 2009 $56,036
Operating Room Staff Nurse Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Atlanta, GA Oct 01, 2009 $56,036
Operating Room Registered Nurse Fullerton Surgery Center Chicago, IL Feb 01, 2011 $52,801
Operating Room Registered Nurse ADEX Medical Staffing, LLC Washington, DC Nov 11, 2009 $52,238
Operating Room Registered Nurse ADEX Medical Staffing, LLC Washington, DC Dec 01, 2009 $52,238

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Top Skills for An Operating Room Nurse

  1. Orthopedics
  2. Patient Care
  3. Charge Nurse
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Applied clinical knowledge in multiple surgical procedures including Orthopedics, General, and Gynecological specialties.
  • Demonstrated critical thinking and performance ability and uses clinical judgment in evaluation activities to meet patient care needs including establishing priorities.
  • Charge nurse in the evening to make sure cases ran smoothly and next day cases were ready to go.
  • Experienced various surgical procedures acquired while working as scrubbing and circulating nurse at major urban hospital.
  • Circulated on general, gynecology, orthopedic and neurology cases.

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Top 10 Best States for Operating Room Nurses

  1. Hawaii
  2. Alaska
  3. Oregon
  4. Texas
  5. New York
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Nevada
  8. California
  9. New Mexico
  10. New Jersey
  • (469 jobs)
  • (175 jobs)
  • (1,006 jobs)
  • (4,797 jobs)
  • (5,028 jobs)
  • (2,198 jobs)
  • (432 jobs)
  • (6,215 jobs)
  • (993 jobs)
  • (2,487 jobs)

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