A Day in the Life and Duties of a Surgical Nurse

NursingFebruary 24, 2015

Becoming a surgical nurse could have some great benefits for those who want to pursue this area of specialty. One of the things that many of the practitioners say they truly love about surgical nursing is that no two days are ever alike. 

The patients and their individual health problems are unique, and that means that you will be able to find more and more opportunities to learn. The challenge of being a surgical nurse is certainly one of the main reasons that it appeals to so many. 

Where Could a Surgical Nurse Practice? 

Those who enter the field will be able to practice and work in a number of different areas. They may work in general surgery, day surgery, vascular surgery, surgical oncology, orthopedics, and more. The duties of a surgical nurse are going to be different from those of an operating nurse in most cases, and they will have to have different sets of skills. However, many nurses who work on the surgical units may want to receive extra training and start working in the OR at some point. Most of the time, a surgical nurse with experience is going to be able to care for up to six patients on his or her own. 

However, it is likely that some other nurses will help to check in on patients and provide care. The number of patients is actually often going to depend on the acuity of the patient and the number of patients on the unit. 

Pre-Op Duties

Before the patient goes into surgery, the nurse is going to help with a number of different steps. Often, the day before surgery, the nurse may provide the pre-op instructions to the patient. On the day of the surgery, he or she will ensure that the patient has the right medications, the blood tests are finished, and that all ID bracelets are fully accurate. In addition, the nurse will likely double check the patient’s chart so to ensure that all allergies are properly noted. 

Post-Op Duties

After the surgery, the nurse is going to watch the patient closely to make sure that everything is proceeding properly. The nurses will look for any signs of distress, bleeding, shock, infection, or other problems that could cause further injury or death. In addition, the nurses will be taking care of the wounds incurred with the surgery, and will help the patient to manage pain and after effects of the surgical procedure. The nurse will take care of instructing the patient on discharge orders as well. The hours can be long and may seem grueling for some who aren’t in the field and who do not know the passion that most nurses bring to their job. 

However, the busy environment, the challenge, and the great pay are just a few reasons that people choose to go into this field. Surgical nursing is just one type of specialty from which you could choose, but it does bring many rewards. Learn more about Fortis's nursing programs today!

Tags: nursing, Empower