Operating Room Nurse Training and Education Programs

Operating room nurses assist physicians during surgery. Read on to learn about the different types of operating room nurses, how to train for this career and certification options. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Operating Room Nurse?

There are two distinct kinds of operating room nurses: medical-surgical nurses and perioperative nurses. As a medical-surgical nurse, you will assist patients before and after their surgery, while as a perioperative nurse, you will be at the surgeon's side, handing him or her instruments and helping to control a patient's bleeding during surgery. If you want to be in the operating room, you want to be a perioperative nurse.

Operating Room Nurse Duties Medical-surgical nurses help before and after surgery while perioperative nurses work by the surgeon's side
Medical-Surgical Nurse Requirements Associate's degree in nursing, license to practice in your state and certification
Perioperative Nurse Requirements Certificate program, associate's degree and license to practice as a nurse
Job Opportunities Working in a hospital, long-term care facility, acute care unit, ambulatory surgery unit or physician's office
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (for registered nurses)*
Median Salary (2018)$71,730 (for registered nurses)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Need to Do to Be a Medical-Surgical Nurse?

Medical-surgical nursing is often included in the core curriculum of an associate's degree in nursing. These degrees are typically offered at community colleges. After you graduate, you can take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) and become a registered nurse, licensed to practice in your state. Some nursing courses may be available online.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) also offers a certification in medical-surgical nursing. In order to be eligible, you must be a registered nurse, be licensed in your state, have two years experience as a nurse, have completed at least 2,000 hours of medical-surgical experience in the past three years, and have completed 30 hours of continuing education over the past three years.

What Do I Need to Do to Be a Perioperative Nurse?

In order to be a perioperative nurse, you will need to complete a certificate program in perioperative nursing. These tend to be offered at community colleges and require between 12 and 16 credits to complete. Admission into these certificate programs usually requires you to have already completed an associate's degree in nursing and to be licensed and practicing as a registered nurse. Some courses may be available online.

What Will I Do With My Degree?

As a medical-surgical nurse, you will have the opportunity to ready patients for surgery and to care for them afterwards, but you will also be able to care for patients that are taking medication for long-term illness. You may work in a hospital, a long-term care facility, in a patient's home, or in an acute care unit.

As a perioperative nurse, you will be in the operating room with the surgeon. You may be the one handing over the necessary tools and instruments as needed, or you may be in charge of managing the operating room, making sure everything is safe and working properly. You may work in a hospital, an ambulatory surgery unit, a clinic, or a physician's office.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Walden University

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    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Master

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  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

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  • Regent University

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  • The George Washington University

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    • Master

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  • University of Pennsylvania

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    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
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