Operating room nurses (often referred to as perioperative nurses) play a vital role in the healthcare industry, since an operating room nurse is responsible for major nursing activities occurring in the surgical suite. The operating room nurse duties focus on assisting the patient’s physiological status before, during and after the surgery.
Operating room nurse duties include identifying the priorities or implementing care based on the sound nursing judgments and providing individual patient needs, acting as a model to perioperative nurses and for students or colleagues and functioning as the patients advocate by protecting patients from incompetent, unethical, or from illegal practices during the perioperative period. Other duties involve coordinating in activities that are associated in implementing the nursing care by the members of the healthcare team.
In addition to these, operating room nurses demonstrate a thorough knowledge in aseptic principles and techniques to maintain a safe therapeutic surgical environment. They direct and handle the handling of all supplies, equipment and instruments, to ensure their economic and efficient function for the patient and personnel under both normal and hazardous conditions. They also perform the surgical skin preparation, conduct and maintain accurate records of counts and maintain accurate detailed notes of the nursing activities during the operating procedure. They also perform the duties of a scrub nurse or circulating nurse if needed, but all will be based on their knowledge and expertise in performing specific procedures.
Operating room nurses also participate in administering education programs that will direct towards professional and personal growth development, as well as participate in professional organizational and research activities that support and enhanced perioperative nursing practice. The goal of the operating nurse is simple and that is, to provide a standard of excellence in the care of the patient before, during, and after the surgery.
As the only non-scrubbed member of the surgical team, the operating nurse represents a coordinating link between the scrub team and all the other departments and personnel that are associated with the surgical patient and the procedure. They are by virtue responsible for managing patients in the operating suite and their duties begin long before the patient arrives in the operating room and continues until the final dispensation of the patient is completed.
The duties of an operating room nurse may be quite a handful, but operating room nurses stay dedicated on their calling and put their patients’ needs above their own, to the extent of sometimes rendering over time work just so they could complete their assigned tasks and help save their patients’ lives.