What Are the Requirements to Be a Surgery Nurse?

If you work as a surgery nurse - more formally known as a perioperative nurse - you'll help maintain patients' well-being throughout the surgical process. Read on to learn more about perioperative nursing positions and the requirements you'll need to fulfill in order to work in the operating room. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education and Licensing for Perioperative Nurses

According to the Association of perioperative Registered Nurses (www.aorn.org), the operating team might require you to assume the following roles during surgery:

  • Scrub nurse
  • Circulator nurse
  • Registered nurse (RN) first assistant
  • Operating room director
  • Patient educator

To become a one of these surgery nurses, you'll typically need to earn the education to become a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). While you may be assigned to work as a scrub nurse, circulator nurse, or patient educator as a LPN, to serve as a first assistant or operating room director, you'll need to be a licensed RN. To become a licensed RN or LPN, you'll first need to earn your nursing degree. As an LPN, you can complete a certificate program, while as an RN you may choose to enroll in an associate's or bachelor's degree program. All programs typically cover similar topics like:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Health promotion
  • Disease prevention
  • Dosage calculation
  • Physical assessment

You'll likely be required to complete clinical hours, which can give you hands-on training in the nursing field. Depending on the opportunities available to you, you may choose to use your clinical experience to practice working in operating rooms. After you've completed your degree program, you'll need to pass a national exam to become a licensed RN or LPN. This national exam is called the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-LPN). Additional licensure requirements vary by state.

Important Facts About Perioperative Nursing

Median Salary (2015) $61,519 per year
Work Environment Typically full time, stressful, hospital setting
Similar Occupations Surgical Technologist, Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse
Key Skills Patience, physical stamina, interpersonal skills

Source: Payscale.com

Specialization

If you want to work as an operating room director or a registered nurse first assistant, you'll need to complete further surgical training or take additional business-related classes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that most RNs who take on specialty positions earn at least a master's degree in their field of specialization. You may also choose to enroll in a registered nurse first assistant program, where you'll gain further clinical experience and practice the medical skills you'll need, such as suturing, wound healing, and anesthesia. These programs, which sometimes result in a post-baccalaureate certificate, might require you to have two years of operating room experience before enrolling.

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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