Surgical Nursing Programs: Degree and Training

Learn about specialized training opportunities and degree programs for aspiring surgical nurses. Find out about job duties, licensure requirements and certification options in the field of surgical nursing. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Surgical Nursing Programs Are Available?

Specific programs that focus solely on surgical nursing are rare. A few schools offer perioperative nursing certificate programs designed for registered nurses with work experience. These programs consist of 4-5 classes and clinical rotations in an operating room or other surgical facility. In some cases, you may complete didactic courses online.

Surgical nursing is a component of many nursing degree programs. For example, associate's and bachelor's programs in nursing may include courses or practica in surgical nursing. Medical-surgical topics are also discussed in master's programs for aspiring clinical nurse specialists.

Program Choices Certificate program; associate and bachelor's degrees
Training Requirements License as a registered nurse
Certification Titles Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification, Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse
Job Responsibilities Surgery tools and supplies maintenance, stitching, blood loss control, personnel management

What Training Do I Need?

To work as a surgical nurse, you must be a licensed RN. Specific rules regarding licensure differ in each state, but in most cases, you need to complete an associate's or bachelor's program in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Additional training in surgical nursing isn't usually required in order to work in this field. You also don't need to be certified, but some employers prefer job applicants who hold professional certification.

What Are My Certification Options?

The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification and the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses offers the Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse credential. To earn these certifications, you must be an RN and pass an exam. As a licensed RN, you can also earn the CNOR credential through the Competency and Credentialing Institute if you have at least two years of operating room experience and complete a test.

What Job Duties Might I Have?

In general, surgical or perioperative nurses assist surgeons, operating room staff and patients before, during and after surgery. According to the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses, professionals in this field may fill a few different roles, including that of scrub nurse, circulating nurse or RN first assistant. As a scrub nurse, you'll handle surgery tools and supplies; circulating nurses manage nursing personnel during operations. As an RN first assistant, you're responsible for stitching wounds and controlling blood loss during surgery. You could work in hospitals, surgical clinics, physicians' offices or day-surgery centers.

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:

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  • The George Washington University

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