Perioperative Nurse

What does a perioperative nurse do?

A perioperative nurse is a registered nurse (R.N.) who works in the operating room. Sometimes called a surgical or an operating room nurse, this specialized nurse cares for patients before, during and after surgery.

In the operating room, the perioperative nurse may serve as a scrub nurse, selecting and passing instruments and supplies used for the operation, or as a circulating nurse managing the overall nursing care in the operating room and helping to maintain a safe, comfortable environment.

People they work with: Surgeons, patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly

Where they work: Hospital operating rooms, outpatient centers and doctors’ offices

Career outlook for a perioperative nurse

Job opportunities for registered nurses are excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of R.N.s to grow much faster than average, particularly specialty nurses such as perioperative nurses.

With additional education and experience, perioperative nurses can work as operating room directors. Some perioperative nurses complete advanced degrees to become nurse anesthetists or become a certified RN First Assistant. They may also work as clinical educators or researchers.

Perioperative nurse programs at Mayo Clinic

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