Operating Room Nurse Job Description

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Table Of Contents

Learn about the important requirements, obligations, responsibilities, and skills that should be in an operating room nurse job description.

Operating room nurses, also called OR nurses, help prepare patients and equipment for surgical procedures. They also administer care to patients during and after operations. Also known as perioperative nurses, OR nurses must be registered nurses who are licensed to practice in their state. They may also have specific certifications and work experience that qualifies them for OR nurse positions.

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Operating Room Nurse Job Description Template

Our hospital is looking for a skilled, experienced operating room nurse to join our highly-rated surgical team at our central facility. The perioperative nurse is responsible for preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment according to sterile techniques, delivering perioperative patient care, evaluating patients, and communicating with other members of the team.

Operating Room Nurse Responsibilities

Perioperative nurse responsibilities include:

  • Preparing operating rooms, equipment, and instruments using sterile techniques
  • Preparing patients for surgery
  • Monitoring and caring for patients before, during, and after surgical procedures
  • Creating nursing care plans for surgical patients
  • Providing patient education before surgery
  • Administering medication and using surgical equipment as instructed by surgeons
  • Maintaining and updating patient charts
  • Dealing with patient emergencies during procedures
  • Ensures post-operative continuity of care by coordinating discharge planning

Operating Room Nurse Requirements 

We are looking for the following skills and qualifications:

  • Associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing (note that many hospitals and surgery centers may prefer or require a four-year degree)
  • Current licensure in the state in which the registered nurse practices
  • Related experience (dependent on role and employer)
  • Certifications, which may include Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) or Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA)
  • Expert-level knowledge of aseptic and sterile techniques
  • Detail-oriented
  • Calm under pressure
  • Ability to multitask
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Emotional intelligence and ability to get along with others under extreme stress
  • Physical strength, including the ability to lift a certain amount (e.g., 30 pounds) and stand for long periods of time
  • Manual dexterity, especially for CRNFAs

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Operating Room Nurse Duties And Responsibilities

OR nurse duties will vary depending on the role. For example, some hospitals, clinics, and surgical centers have perioperative nurses who focus on pre-op, intra-op, and post-op recovery. Others may combine some of these specialties.

Consider the following duties and responsibilities when you are adapting your own OR nurse job description:

Prepare Patients For Surgery

Pre-op and general perioperative nurses are responsible for preparing patients for surgical procedures. This may include administering patient education, ensuring the completion of pre-surgical paperwork, and cleaning and disinfecting skin in areas to be operating on. Perioperative nurses must have up-to-date knowledge of surgical procedures and be able to help patients and their families and caregivers understand what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

Prepare Operating Room, Equipment, And Tools 

Perioperative nurses must understand and be able to apply aseptic and sterile techniques to equipment and tools in order to prevent infection in the patient. These nurses also ensure that the facility is well-stocked with the supplies and equipment necessary to perform procedures. OR nurses must be able to follow approved safety standards and regulations.

Care For Patients Before, During, And After Surgery 

OR nurses assess, monitor, and care for patients at all stages of the surgical process. They must be skilled communicators in order to convey their findings to other members of the surgical team. In addition, they must be able to pivot quickly in emergencies or when requirements change during a procedure.

Ensure Continuity of Care

Document patient care and update charts based on findings and surgical procedures. Communicate with the surgical team about patient assessments and needs. Educate patients about post-procedure follow-up and referrals.

Stand For Long Periods 

Nurses must possess physical strength and stamina. It’s common for organizations to stipulate that RNs be able to lift a certain amount of weight and/or stand for long periods of time. This is especially important in the OR, where members of the surgical team may be required to stay on their feet for hours at a stretch.

If you want to work as an OR nurse, take the first step by updating your resume. We recommend using a resume writing service to get expert help.

Operating Room Nurse Salary And Job Outlook

Median National Salary: $129,668 per year, according to ZipRecruiter

Education Required: Like most registered nurses, OR nurses can begin their career with an associate or bachelor’s degree plus licensure in their state. However, many employers may prefer nurses to have a four-year degree. Some may require or give preference to candidates who have certification, for example, a Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) or Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA) credential.

Number of Jobs: The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t track OR nurses as a specialty. However, it reports that there were 3,172,500 registered nurses working in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available.

Job Growth 2022 – 2032: The BLS projects that registered nurse jobs will grow 6% over the next 10 years–about the average for all occupations.

The Bottom Line

While your specific requirements may vary, the above operating room nurse job description can give you a sense of how to structure your job requisition, create a job ad, and find the best, most qualified RNs for your open roles.

Ready to find top candidates near you? Post your job description on ZipRecruiter today.