How to Get Started Working as an Operating Room Nurse

Nurses in operating room.
Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

When it comes to providing quality care to patients before, during, and after surgery, Operating Room (OR) Nurses have their time to shine. Often called Perioperative Nurses, these individuals are in charge of patients that are scheduled for surgery, and also act as an intermediary for the patient’s family during operation.

Because OR Nurses are a specialized Registered Nurse (RN), their role may change depending on the needs of the operation room. If needed, the OR Nurse may have to step in as a Scrub Nurse, passing the physician the surgical instruments during surgery. However, if care is required during the surgery, including keeping the operating room sterile, the OR Nurse might take on the role of a Circulatory Nurse.

Either way, the OR Nurse plays a considerable role in an efficient surgical process, from providing excellent care to patients and their family, and even maintaining that quality care in the operating room. If you are looking for a role with high patient interaction in a fast-paced environment, an OR Nurse position might be for you.

In this brief guide, we’ll go over what you need to become an OR Nurse and how you can find a position in the role.

Education Requirements

There are a few ways that interested individuals can begin their OR Nursing career:

  • Associates level (2 years)
  • Bachelors level (3-4 years)
  • Masters level (5+ years)

At the Associates level, you can complete a nursing degree at a local community college to complete requirements for entry-level OR Nurse positions. At the Bachelor’s or Master’s level, you can pursue higher-level positions with competitive pay.

Are you looking to further your education? Check out the following colleges and their degree programs.

Associates Nursing Programs in Phoenix, Arizona

Bachelors Nursing Programs in Phoenix, Arizona

Whether starting after receiving an Associates or and advanced degree (Bachelors or Masters), most nurses trying to progress into an OR position will require additional certifications. The primary certification is the Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) certification. To learn more about the CNOR certification requirements and needs, check out the official website

The Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses also encourages continuing your education to pursue other credentials. Not only does this boost up your resume, but this also improves your chances of pursuing higher-paying roles.  

For additional education and licenses, refer to the following associations:

Empty operating room.
Photo by pixpoetry on Unsplash

Salary and Job Outlook

Experience, degree, and location play a large part in the salary that Operating Room Nurses receive. At Desert Medical Careers, we generally pay within the $40-50/hour range for OR nurses. However, nurses typically earn between $68,570-$84,477 annually in the Phoenix, Arizona area. 

Registered nurses - quick pay facts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses are expected to see a 12% growth in job opportunities, which is a lot faster than other careers in the industry. This fast growth is an excellent opportunity for those looking to start a new career, especially for operating room nurses. 

How to Apply for Operating Room Nurse Positions?

At Desert Medical Careers, we have years of connections with facilities where we’ve placed hundreds of individuals looking for medical positions. 

We often receive numerous calls from centers for per diem work, but a lot of times this can turn into a consistent schedule or something permanent and open more doors for better opportunities. For example, if applicants are flexible and have worked with several Ambulatory Surgery Centers, we can help place them as needed or look for part-time or full time as well.

As the top medical job placement center in Phoenix, Arizona, we make it a top priority to place individuals in facilities that match their career goals. We review resumes, ensuring they match what medical facilities are looking for, and provide interview tips based on our experience placing thousands of people in Operating Room Nurse positions. 

If you would like to be placed in a OR nursing position, contact Desert Medical Careers at (602) 468-6300 or fill out the form below to get contacted by a DMC expert.

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