Roles of Nurses in the Operating Room


A nurse who assists physicians and surgeons during surgical procedures is referred to as an operating room nurse. These professionals must obtain at least an associate's degree in nursing as well as a state-administered nursing license. Many of these professionals obtain additional training and certification to specialize in this area of nursing. In April 2010, lists a national average annual salary of $64,000 for this occupation.


  • Before an operation, patients are informed about the procedure they will be undergoing, and the nurse explains the procedure and answers questions from patients and their families. The nurse checks vital signs, and administers any medication prescribed by the physician performing the operation, excluding anesthesia, to ensure the patient is ready for the procedure. This professional also prepares the operating room for surgery, ensures it is sterile and makes operating room tools and instruments ready for procedures and possible emergencies.


  • During an operation, the nurse assists the surgeon throughout the procedure. This includes monitoring patients, preparing patients in the operating room before the procedure, and providing necessary tools and surgical equipment as requested by the surgeon. This also includes responding to emergencies during surgery and having appropriate emergency equipment prepared and ready for use by the surgeons and physicians performing the operation.


  • After an operation, the nurse checks vital signs, assists patients in recovery process and ensures a healthy recovery. This can include simple tasks such as providing food and water if needed, and more complex tasks such as quickly responding to emergencies and administering post-operative medications. The nurse also prepares the operating room for cleaning after surgery.

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