Also known as an operating nurse (OR Nurse), a perioperative nurse is the more commonly used term now to better describe their job duties. As medical care evolves, healthcare jobs like nursing have also become increasingly specialized. A perioperative nurse works in the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases of surgery. Perioperative nurses are important parts of the surgical team, working with the surgeon, anesthesia provider, surgical assistant, circulating nurse, and other healthcare professionals. Some specific perioperative nursing duties include planning and directing the care for patients undergoing surgery or other invasive procedures. Perioperative nurses can work in many different facilities, including hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, or physicians’ offices. They are also important patient educators and often communicate with the patients’ families about the patient’s procedure and post-surgery recovery directions.
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If you are interested in becoming a perioperative nurse, you will need the right education and work experience. The first step toward becoming a perioperative nurse is to become a licensed registered nurse (RN). There a few different paths to consider when becoming an RN. You can earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or associate of science in nursing (ASN), which takes only two to three years. You can also earn a nursing diploma from a hospital program in just two to three years, although this option is no longer as common due to the large number of associate nursing degree programs available. A two-year degree will most often limit your job scope and your job responsibilities. However, with a two-year degree you could still start working as a nurse, and later apply that degree toward a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a subject area other than nursing, you may want to consider an accelerated nursing degree program that will take into account course work you have already completed. Often an accelerated program can be completed in about two years. Following completion of whichever nursing program you choose, you will need to register for, take and pass the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX exam is most often the final step in becoming an RN in the majority of states.
Perioperative Nursing Certification
Perioperative nursing certification is also important for specialty nursing fields like perioperative nursing. While certification is not legally required the way licensing is, it is highly recommended and often considered mandatory by top employers. Certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence in the field, proving that your knowledge meets national standards and is current and up-to-date in an ever evolving industry. Certified nurses also tend to earn more annually, and research has shown that they are also more confident in their clinical skills. The Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) provides certification for perioperative nurses. You must have two years and 2,400 hours of surgical nursing experience in order to qualify for taking the exam. You must also be currently licensed, and currently employed in surgical nursing. By passing the exam, you will become a certified a CNOR (certified nurse operative room).
Perioperative Nursing Salary
With additional education, a perioperative nurse has many opportunities for career growth. They can become operating room directors, or manage budgets and staffing of operative rooms. Perioperative nurses can also become nurse researchers, nurse educators in their field, or earn their master’s degree and become a nurse practitioner. According to simplyhired.com, the average salary for a perioperative nurse is $56,000. According to AORN’s salary survey from 2007, the average staff nurse in the OR earns $60,400, and the average assistant director, director, or nurse assistant makes $93,000. Salary can rise as high as $127,000 for directors in large facilities. This will also vary based on geographic location and employer, as well as your degree and years of experience. Like all nursing jobs and many jobs in healthcare, this career is projected to only grow. Healthcare is still a fast growing and strong job market, and nurses are in short supply. If you think working as a perioperative nurse sounds rewarding, find out which nursing educational programs are best for you so you can get started on this promising career.