Surgical Nursing Schools and Courses

Surgical nursing is a major area of concentration within nursing degree programs, so you can specialize in surgical nursing while earning your degree. Find out about licensing and certification requirements, and learn how you can move ahead in your career. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Surgical nurses are a vital part of the medical team in a hospital or surgical environment. Surgical nursing schools and courses teach aspiring nurses how to care for patients before, during and after surgery, as well as prepare them for the role with intensive study and hands-on training.

Degrees Diploma, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree
Training On-the-job training, nursing practicum, internships
Certification Voluntary certifications are available

What Education Do I Need?

The minimum educational requirement to become an RN is a nursing diploma, which you could earn in about a year from a community college, technical college or hospital. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that your employment opportunities may be limited if you have only a nursing diploma. An associate's degree in program in nursing is a 2-year program composed of general education courses, nursing courses and a nursing practicum or internship, which could be in a surgical setting. Surgical nursing often is an integral part of the curriculum, and courses in this study area will teach you to sterilize the surgical environment, maintain operating room equipment and utilize surgical tools.

Schools that offer an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program with surgical nursing studies include:

  • University of Charleston
  • Shasta College
  • Santa Barbara City College
  • Denver College of Nursing
  • Southern State Community College
  • San Bernardino Valley College

What Courses Will I Take?

Most ADN programs include basic courses in health assessment, pathophysiology, pharmacology and fundamentals of nursing. You will also take courses and labs focusing of specific areas of nursing, such as maternity/child nursing, obstretics nursing, mental health nursing and surgical nursing. Surgical nursing coursework focuses on the surgical care of specific conditions affecting such systems as:

  • Endocrine
  • Cardiac
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Urinary
  • Neurological
  • Reproductive
  • Lymphatic

How Do I Become Licensed?

After you complete your nursing program, you can take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Passing this exam, assuming you've met all other requirements, will result in state licensure. Additional requirements, such as background checks, vary from state to state; check with your state national board to ensure you have met all requirements. You could then enter a specialized surgical nursing residency program at a university hospital, or you could receive on-the-job training, as many surgical nurses do.

Will I Need to Become Certified?

Nursing certification is not generally required, but can be helpful for career advancement purposes. You'll need to gain some work experience before you can start thinking about certification. To become a certified medical-surgical RN through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board, you'll need two years of experience as a surgical nurse and 2,000 hours of clinical practice. A current RN license is also required for certification.

How Can I Advance?

You don't need a bachelor's or master's degree to become a surgical nurse, but many RNs who hold diplomas or associate's degrees move on to advanced programs. According to the BLS, it's not uncommon for employers to provide tuition assistance to RNs seeking continuing education. A 4-year bachelor's degree program in nursing would provide advanced studies in nursing practice and surgical nursing. In a master's degree program, you could choose a path of study that would prepare you to work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). Many CNS programs are offered with concentrations in medical-surgical nursing.

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.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • The George Washington University

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  • Regent University

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  • Brightwood College

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