Surgical nurses are registered nurses specializing in the field of surgical care. They have been educated and trained to be a part of the surgical team. It is their duty to provide patients with utmost care before, during, and after a surgical procedure.
Generally, surgical nurses are employed by private surgery clinics, hospital trauma or emergency centers, and hospital surgical suites. There are different types of surgical nurses such as Scrub nurses, Circulating nurses, RN first assistants, and Perianesthesia nursing. Their job responsibilities vary according to profile.
Duties and Responsibilities
Surgical nurses provide patient care during the pre-surgical, operative, and recovery periods. They help patients physically and emotionally before, during, and after surgery. They also assist surgeons during surgical procedures.
These surgical nurses work with patients who are facing operations and ready them for their procedures, observe them throughout the surgery, and aid them in recovery.
Other duties include assisting with additional supplies or instruments as required by the physician. Surgical nurses have to account for all the equipment, gauze, and any other item used during surgery to make sure that no item is left inside the patient’s body. They are also responsible for the transportation of specimens to the labs. They have to use clamps to control bleeding and perform suturing at the close of the operation.
Surgical nurses rotate in the hospital, assessing patient conditions, addressing social problems related to patients, or may be stationed in the operating room. In the operating room, surgical nurses may work as the RN support that administers direct care to the patient. He may also work outside of the sterile area or provide sterile instruments and equipment to the surgeon.
Surgical nurses also record patient information, monitor progress, check for new symptoms or medication reactions, administer medication, and assist physicians with examinations.
Education and Skills
In order to become a surgical nurse, candidates must have attended nursing school and have the necessary degree or diploma. He must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and must pass the exam to become a registered nurse. A master’s degree in nursing creates more opportunities for career advancement.
Surgical nurses must be able to work for long hours and should be able to deal with stressful conditions. They should be physically fit and need to be on their feet for long periods of time. Surgical nurses should have attention to detail and be team players. They should be patient and compassionate towards patients.
They should be friendly, caring, sympathetic, and responsible. Exceptional management and decision-making skills are also needed to hand over work to hospital staff and effectively implement various tasks in traumatic conditions.
Work Conditions and Salary
Surgical nurses frequently change stations within the hospital. They can also be stationed only in the operating room.
The average salary for a surgical nurse is around $70,000. However, it can also vary on the size of the hospital, location, and the amount of duties. Experience and education may also contribute to a surgical nurse’s salary rate.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/