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A perioperative nurse is a nurse who works in an emergency operating room. These registered nursing professionals assist surgeons with various tasks while also helping patients to relax and remain comfortable during surgery. A perioperative nurse may also help patients before surgery (pre-operative) and after surgery (post-operative).
When a perioperative nurse is acting as a pre-operative nurse, these individuals are responsible for a number of different things including working with a patient’s family members. Pre-operative nurses must assess each patient, prepare each patient for surgery, and speak with patients regarding any fears or concerns. Once surgery commences, the role of the pre-operative nurse frequently changes to that of a perioperative nurse.
During surgery, two perioperative nurses usually tend to each patient. The “circulating” nurse is responsible for the general safety and well-being of a patient during surgery. This nurse works with the surgeon, anesthesia expert, and the scrub nurse to ensure that all safety procedures are being followed. This perioperative nurse may also be responsible for assisting a surgical team, though circulating nurses do not handle surgical equipment.
The other type of perioperative nurse is referred to as a “scrub” nurse. A scrub nurse acts as a surgical assistant by handing a surgeon specific sterilized tools during an operation. Additionally, the scrub nurse is responsible for making sure that all medical instruments are properly cared for and safe.
Following surgery, perioperative nurses are frequently required to act as post-operative nurses. Immediately after surgery, the post-operative nurse tends to a patient who has just undergone a surgical procedure. During this crucial time, a post-operative nurse’s main responsibility is to ensure the safety and comfort of a patient. Post-operative nurses have extensive training handling post-operative patients.
Clearly, the role of a perioperative nurse is not an easy one. These individuals must be able to perform three complex nursing tasks at all times. Perioperative nurses tend to have extensive specialized training in addition to general nursing training. While this type of profession is complex and difficult, perioperative nurses often enjoy a rewarding career. Anyone wishing to become a perioperative nurse should possess great communication skills along with a general interest in helping others.
A scrub nurse is a specially trained nurse who works with surgeons and the medical team in the operating room. Scrub nurses are extremely valuable members of the surgical team, providing support in the operating room and patient care outside of it as well. This career can be very demanding, but also quite rewarding, and careers in nursing are constantly expanding due to the rising need for these crucial health care professionals. Some scrub nurses even become highly sought after members of surgical teams, especially experienced scrub nurses who are familiar with a wide range of procedures.
Any type of surgery is a complex endeavor, and it requires a large support team of medical professionals to ensure that the surgery runs smoothly. Patients may never meet some of the people involved in their surgeries; the pathologist who analyzes a patient’s blood before surgery, for example, may not meet the patient, but he or she is responsible for ensuring that the patient is healthy enough for a surgical procedure.
Scrub nurses are more formally known as perioperative nurses. Perioperative nursing involves patient care before, during, and after surgery. There are a number of different perioperative nursing positions; the scrub nurse is actually fulled “scrubbed in” for the surgery, meaning that he or she has used special soaps and wears sterile garments so that the nurse can work next to the operative field. A scrub nurse hands instruments to the surgeon and helps to keep an eye on the patient’s condition. Scrub nurses are also familiar with the operation of emergency room equipment.
A circulating nurse, another type of operating room (OR) nurse, works on the perimeter of the operating room, monitoring patient care, ensuring that the room stays sterile, and keeping track of instruments and sponges. Perioperative nurses also help to prepare patients for surgery, and they provide valuable care and monitoring for patients when their surgeries are over. Surgeons may do the cutting, but a scrub nurse is every bit as important.
Circulating nurses are essential members of a surgical team. They are responsible for preparing operating rooms and observing patients during surgeries, alerting doctors if complications arise. Since the job requires extensive knowledge of patient care procedures, a person who wants to become a circulating nurse usually needs to gain several years of experience in other nursing positions to prepare for the responsibilities of the position. In general, a bachelor’s degree, success on a registered nurse licensing exam, and practical training in an emergency room or a critical care unit are needed to become a circulating nurse.
An individual who wants to become a circulating nurse can develop technical and personal skills in a four-year nursing program at an accredited university. Some hospitals and community colleges offer two-year programs to prepare new nurses, but most future circulating nurses choose to pursue bachelor’s degrees to improve their resumes and their understanding of the job. An undergraduate usually takes classes in medical technology, patient care procedures, math, anatomy, and biology. In addition, many schools offer specialized classes in surgical nursing for students who are interested in perioperative and circulating nurse professions.
Nursing students often have the opportunity to work as interns at local hospitals while pursuing their degrees. A person who wants to become a circulating nurse usually has the option to spend most of an internship in surgical settings, observing procedures and learning about the role of perioperative professionals. Upon graduation, he or she can take a national licensing test to earn registered nurse credentials. Since new nurses are in high demand in most regions, entry-level opportunities for recent graduates are typically plentiful.
Most new nurses begin their careers in emergency rooms, ambulatory care units, and general hospitals. A professional who wants to become a circulating nurse can be exposed to many different types of patients and conditions, learning about emergency medical and surgical procedures. He or she can find out about perioperative opportunities by asking practicing nurses and hospital administrators. In many regions, a nurse needs to complete continuing education courses and a certain number of hours of general nursing experience before he or she can join a surgical team.
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