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Top 10: Perioperative Nursing

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

It's Perioperative Nurses Week! So there's no better week than this one to release our Top 10 reasons why Perioperative Nursing is such a great specialty!

1. Cutting-Edge Technology

We see the coolest stuff in the operating room! We've got robots, cameras that can go into the tiniest places, lasers that can excise tissue with the utmost precision, 3D microscopes, and so much more. As OR Nurses we benefit from having a front row seat to the latest and greatest in innovation.

2. Pioneering Techniques

This goes along with #1 - but all of that innovation translates into pioneering surgical techniques that decrease recovery times and improve outcomes for our patients. That's a win for everyone!

3. Quality of Life

Every time we roll a patient back into the OR, we are helping to improve their quality of life. Whether that's restoring function with a total joint replacement, placing a stent to help with blood flow, or removing a cancerous tumor, we are there from procedure start to procedure finish. Our attention to detail when setting up the room, positioning, prepping, and throughout the procedure all contribute to positive outcomes for our patients.

4. Variety

We don't see the same thing twice, do we? Every surgery is unique, and we get to see a variety of procedures throughout each shift. We might start our day working in an ENT room, but then when those cases are finished, we move to Orthopedics and help with a total knee replacement. Or we might start off doing Eyes and then get moved to General. It keeps us on our toes!

5. Kings and Queens of Multitasking

How many things can you keep up with at once? Every OR nurse can chart, listen to the conversation at the field, hear the anesthesia machine, and know when it's time to call the family for an update - and that's just for starters! We also have to be able to prioritize all of the tasks we are given so that we complete them in the right order for patient safety and efficiency for the room.

6. Advocates for Patient Safety

Everyone in the OR is committed to the safety of the patient, but as OR nurses, we are tasked with ensuring that the patient's safety is the highest priority at all times. We confirm consents, we speak up if someone attempts something that the patient didn't consent to, we insist on a time out, we perform surgical counts with our scrubs, and we are there, throughout the procedure, to be the voice of the patient who has entrusted us with their care. That's a heavy responsibility, and one that we don't take lightly.

7. Problem Solving Powerhouses

Along with our constant multitasking and prioritizing, we are constantly creatively solving problems to keep the OR going. Sometimes it's rearranging which patient goes next due to availability of implants and instruments. Sometimes it's suggesting a different tray that has an instrument in it that will help the surgeon with a difficult procedure. And sometimes, what we need isn't available and we have to come up with a creative, but safe, solution. And we do this ALL DAY LONG.

8. Specialization

Even though OR nursing is a specialty all on its own, within it is the opportunity to specialize even further. Whether you're on the Orthopedic Team, the Trauma Team, or the Plastics Team, you are a valuable member of the team and you become an expert in that specialty. And we desperately need people on the team who are passionate about that specialty and have become experts in those procedures. (That doesn't mean we don't sometimes get assigned cases that are "off service" but having experts for the different specialties always gives you someone to call on if you need help!)

9. Professional Growth Opportunities

There are so many ways available to us to continue learning and growing. Whether that's by getting our CNOR certification, attending education events at our facility, or even attending large conferences like AORN and OR Manager, we have learning opportunities at our fingertips.

10. The People!

Teamwork makes the dream work, doesn't it? The OR is the perfect blend of skilled professionals working together seamlessly - and that team in the OR is usually so much fun to work with! The surgical team, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, RNFAs, nurses, and surgical techs are always working together to ensure safe, positive outcomes for our patients. It's the people in the operating room who really make or break the environment, and when you've got a good team, it makes all the difference in the world, both for the staff and for the patients.

Happy Perioperative Nurses Week!

This Top 10 list just scratches the surface of all of the reasons why it's great to be an OR Nurse. And, I might be a little biased, but I also think that working in the OR is the best place to work as a nurse! What about you? Why do you love the OR?

Until next time,


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