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Perioperative Nursing

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Perioperative Nursing

As surgical care evolves, so does the role of the registered nurse who assists with patient care in the operating room. Operating Room (OR) nurses are referred to as perioperative nurses to more accurately reflect their specialized duties.

Perioperative nursing includes those activities performed by the professional registered nurse in the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative phases of surgery.

Perioperative nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who work in hospital surgical departments, day-surgery units (also called ambulatory surgery), clinics and physicians' offices. They work closely with the surgical patient, family members and other health-care professionals to help plan, implement and evaluate treatment.

More about Perioperative Nurses

In the operating room the perioperative nurse may serve as a:

  • Scrub nurse — selecting and passing instruments and supplies used for the operation.
  • Circulating nurse — managing the overall nursing care in the operating room and helping to maintain a safe, comfortable environment.

Using a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to patient care, the perioperative nurse works closely with the entire surgical team.

Career opportunities

A career in perioperative nursing offers the opportunity to acquire professional, technical and practical problem-solving skills.

Job opportunities for registered nurses are excellent. Employment of RNs is expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations through 2010.

With additional education and experience, perioperative nurses can function as operating room directors, manage budgets, staffing and other business aspects of the operating room. With advanced education and training, perioperative nurses may elect to become nurse anesthetists or may consider a career as a certified RN First Assistant. They also may pursue careers as clinical educators or researchers.

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Earning potential

Median annual earnings of registered nurses were $57,280 in 2006, with a range of $40,250 to $83,440. Specialty nurses — such as perioperative nurses and nurse anesthetists, who work in hospitals and outpatient surgery facilities, can earn more than the average for registered nurses.

Salary levels may vary with geographical location, scope of responsibility and availability of applicants.

Professional organizations

Visit the following Web site to learn more about perioperative nursing:

  • ART246599