Things You Didn't Know About OR Nurses

NursingFebruary 21, 2018

Anyone who has visited a hospital operating room (OR) or watched a doctor show on TV knows nurses are assigned to ORs. They also likely know it takes a special kind of nurse to be an operating room nurse…someone with a lot of skills, training, concentration and anticipation, among other qualities.

But, there are some things about operating room nurses that are known to very few people – OR nurses among them! For instance:

  • They need to know their Criles from their Kellys…and Ballentines from Heaneys (forceps and clamps).
  • Most of them don’t considerate it “odd” when someone says to them, “Gee, I didn’t know you had hair.”
  • They “dance” with surgeons and “tie them up” (orchestration & communication of patient issues).
  • If asked for an implement, such as a pair of scissors, instead of just handing it to you, they’ll slap it in your hand!
  • We’re told, it’s not surprising to find an OR nurse basting a turkey with a Toomey syringe, typically used for urological irrigation.
  • And, more than one OR nurse admits to seriously considering “straight cathing” themselves when they can’t take a bathroom break.

Some operating room nurses are known as “Circulating Nurses” because they keep track of time in the operating rooms, get patients ready for the surgical team and call for anything that’s missing but needed by the surgical team to complete procedures, such as calling in a radiologic technician to the operating room to take an x-ray to double check an issue or repair.  It’s a hectic job that keeps them on their feet and on the “go” most of the day.

If you’re the sort of person who welcomes these, and many other, challenges, becoming an OR nurse may be the right choice for you. But, first, you’ll have to study and become an RN (registered nurse). That’s where Fortis Colleges & Institutes can help. Many offer an Associate Degree in Nursing that can prepare you for a number of nursing positions. Visit Associate Degree in Nursing Page to learn more.