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Surgical Nurses: Operating Room Nurse, Recovery Room, Or Surgical Floor Nurse

The operating room nurse (OR nurse) is one of the many different types of nurses. Surgical nursing can include working in the OR or working on a surgical floor with pre op and post op patients. There are also nurses that work in the recovery room caring for patients immediately after surgery while they awaken from anesthesia.

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The OR nurse has the opportunity to see a variety of surgical procedures. Surgical nurses can perform a variety of duties.

These dutues include

  • circulating nurse
  • scrub nurse
  • patient care





After surgery the operating room nurse will take the patient to the recovery room where the recovery room nurse will care for the patient. In the recovery room the patient wakes up from the surgery, and may require oxygen or pain medicine. When the patient is medically stable the recovery room nurse will transfer the patient to another unit to be cared for. This may include a surgical floor, the intensive care unit or an intermediate care unit depending on the condition of the patient. If the patient had a minor procedure and came in as a day surgery patient the recovery room nurse may discharge the patient as ordered by the physician if the patient's condition is stable.




Care of the post op patient on a surgical unit can be further specialized to areas such as pediatrics or cardiac care.

Care of the surgical patient requiring intensive care can also be specialized inluding surgical intensive care, cardiac intensive care, pediatric intensive care, or pediatric cardiac intensive care.

The OR nurse can also specialize to a specific surgical area such as general surgeries, or cardiac surgeries.

The OR nurse or recovery room nurse may have a monday to friday type of nursing job but they may also be required to cover or be on call for after hours emergencies.

Surgical floor nurses may have a more typical nursing schedule with 8 or 12 hour shifts working day, evening or night shifts.

Read more about OR nursing from a fellow nurse!




› OR nursing

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