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 (2019) $70,113*
Job Growth (2016-2026) 15% (for all registered nurses)**
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

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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:

  • 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

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northern Illinois University

    Northern Illinois University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northern Illinois University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »