How Do You Become a Surgical Nurse?

Perioperative nurses care for patients before and after surgery, during preparation and recovery. They are also responsible for providing assistance to surgeons during an operation, while monitoring a patient’s vital statistics; for this reason, they are sometimes called “operating room nurses” or “surgical nurses.” In order to become a surgical nurse, you will have to go through a rigorous regimen of training and experience, which includes all of the normal prerequisites for nursing.

Becoming a Registered Nurse

The first step in becoming a surgical nurse is to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). After passing a National Council Licensure Examination, it is then possible to begin work as a registered nurse (typically abbreviated to RN). The NCLEX examination is an intensive certification exam required of all nursing candidates before they can begin work in a clinical capacity; it covers certain areas required for operating room expertise as a matter of course, but it is not specific to the career path of the surgical nurse.

Additional Professional and Academic Accreditation

A registered nurse who wishes to become a surgical nurse is strongly advised to accumulate experience working in critical patient care. This would also include such clinical environments as emergency rooms and intensive care units, where a patient’s vital statistics may require extensive monitoring; this is one of the perioperative nurse’s primary responsibilities within the operating room. They should also pursue related coursework through their hospital or other organization’s continuing education program. This includes a variety of subject matter, such as sterilization, patient discharge planning, and emergency situation management; it also includes patient assessment, and intraoperative care.

Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR) Certification

The Competency and Credentialing Institute maintains and facilitates the various certification exams required for the wide range of specialized nursing occupations that exist today. These highly accredited exams set the standard for nursing certification, and in some cases are offered exclusively by the institute. One of these exclusive qualifications is the Certified Nurse Operating Room (or “CNOR”) certification, which is required in order to become a certified perioperative nurse.

Continuing Career Options

An operating room nurse who goes on to acquire more advanced degrees, in nursing or in other healthcare-related fields, can advance to positions of greater responsibility within their organization. Degrees in healthcare administration, healthcare management and healthcare education can lead to such career options as nurse anesthetist, operating room director, first assistant and clinical educator. Each of these jobs enjoys substantial career satisfaction, as well as significant responsibility.

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The process by which a registered nurse can become a surgical nurse is intensive and demanding. The result is a rewarding and satisfying position, which assists in rendering patient care during some of the most critical and vulnerable moments of their lives. This is a highly respected job title along a thoroughly professional career path, which frequently leads to administrative opportunities within a given medical organization or institution. Surgical nurses benefit from an average starting pay of $71,000, which reflects the significant demands inherent to the position, as well as the rising demand for qualified applicants.