Operating Room Nurse Job Profile

An operating room nurse job can be one of the most exciting that you will find in the medical profession. You will literally be able to save people's lives and make a difference in the world. Here are the basics of being an operating room nurse and what you should expect to get out of the job.

Becoming an Operating Room Nurse

In order to successfully become an operating room nurse, you will have to undergo the proper educational process. In college, you should work towards becoming a registered nurse. You could obtain a nursing degree from a community college or obtain a bachelor's degree. Once you graduate from one of these programs, you will have to take a licensing exam called the NCLEX-RN. This will allow you to become a practicing registered nurse. At that point, you will also have to go through additional training in order to become qualified to work in an operating room. You will have to pass another exam that is given by the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses. At that point, you will be able to get a job as an operating room nurse.

Basic Tasks

An operating room nurse will perform a variety of tasks during the surgery process. You will work directly with surgical patients before the surgery takes place. You will answer any questions that they might have and provide them with the necessary care. You might have to administer medication or take their vital signs. Many times, you will also be in charge of making sure that the operating room is ready for surgery and that the proper tools are in place. During surgery, you will continue to monitor the vital signs of the patient as well as provide the necessary surgical instruments to the surgeon as needed. After the surgery is completed, the nurse will be responsible for caring for the patient by checking vital signs and giving additional medication. The nurse may also be responsible for changing the patient's dressing.

Work Schedule

Most surgical nurses will work approximately 40 hours per week. However, you may be required to pick up additional hours as the demand for surgical procedures increases. Your work schedule can vary, as many surgeries start early in the morning in order to allow time for complications.


As of 2009, the mean salary for a surgical nurse is approximately $73,000 per year.

Opportunities for Advancement

As an operating room nurse, you will have some opportunities for advancement in the industry. Many times, large hospitals will have nurses that are in charge of the other surgical nurses. As you continue working in the industry, you may have a chance to move up into this management role. 

Finding a Job

If you are currently looking for a position as an operating room nurse, make sure that you check out www.nursing jobs.org. They have up-to-date job listings as well as other important information for job seekers.