What is a Perioperative Nurse?

The realm of registered nursing careers continuously evolves to reflect the advancement of the medical profession, which includes titles such as perioperative nurse. While these professionals pursue the same standard education as every individual who enters the field, their duties and specialized skills are essential to an efficiently run surgical facility. If you are interested in exploring the options available to you as a student of nursing, the article below will elaborate on the duties and skills required of these nursing professionals.

In the Future of Surgery

Much like a medical surgery nurse, the perioperative nurse works in the operating room (OR) to assist surgeons with successful procedures. However, their duties neither begin nor end there. Perioperative nursing professionals also fill vital roles in the preoperative and postoperative world, prepping patients for surgeries and assisting in the journey of recovery immediately thereafter, according to the Mayo Clinic. They may work in the ambulatory surgery unit of a hospital, assisting in all facets of out-patient surgeries or fulfill vital therapeutic roles in private practices and clinics. The only aspect of this career that can be called standard is that there is never a dull moment.

In addition to assisting the surgeon during an operation as either a Scrub Nurse or a Circulating Nurse, these professionals will also work closely with the patient and their family members to ensure an optimum level of care. They are integral to the successful planning and implementation of a treatment and post-surgical care regimen. As such, the skill set they must acquire is multi-disciplinary, drawing on a number of different fields to ensure patient health.

Essential Skills

As we mentioned, there’s never a dull moment in the life of a perioperative nurse, who draws on a variety of different skill bases in order to accomplish their role in the healthcare universe. While there is a great deal of structure essential to the role, you’ll also need to develop an intensely dynamic interpersonal repertoire, because these nurses engage with both the patients and their families. Both before surgery and afterward, your primary focus is ensuring the comfort and safety of the patient.

Perioperative nurses assist the surgical team during an operation. They act as scrub nurses, passing materials and instruments to the surgeons as needed. They may also act as a circulating nurse, who ensures a safe, comfortable environment for the surgical team during physically and mentally demanding operations. During surgery, these nurses are responsible for maintaining a sterile, safe, and comfortable operating room. They monitor the patient’s vital signs and remain alert for signs of danger.

However, they also interview the patient on the day of surgery, ascertaining any dangerous signs that may delay the operation and ensuring that all the necessary preparations for surgery have been completed in a timely fashion. Following the surgery, whether major or ambulatory, the perioperative nurses are the professionals responsible for ensuring patient comfort. They will also walk patients and family members through the necessary home care processes in order to ensure healing and avoid additional complications, such as infection.

Related Resource: What is a Geriatric Nurse?

While surgeons may claim the limelight of the medical world, it isn’t their faces that a patient will remember. Nurses are responsible for a vast array of care giving duties and are also often the first and last individual in the surgical team with whom the patient will interact. They monitor and interact with patients prior to surgery, watch over them in the OR, and guide them on the path to recovery. The perioperative nurse, while one of many specialized nursing professions, is an essential member of a successful surgery team.