Scrub Nurse Training and Certificate Program Information

Perioperative nurses, sometimes called scrub nurses, care for patients undergoing surgical procedures. Certificate programs in perioperative nursing prepare nurses to work in all phases of surgical care, from preoperative assessment to postoperative evaluation. These programs also train nurses to work as a surgeon's assistant during the operation.

Essential Information

Most scrub nurses receive their surgical nursing training as part of their registered nursing (RN) education. However, a few schools offer certificate programs in scrub nursing that focus exclusively on this specialty. Students may also gain experience in the circulation nurse role, which involves caring for a patient not only during a procedure, but also during the pre- and post-operative stages.

  • Prerequisites: RN License (some programs may accept LPN certification)
  • Other Requirements: Internship (clinical) and comprehensive exam

Scrub Nurse Certificate

Typically, coursework centers on teaching perioperative nursing techniques to students with minimal knowledge of operating room procedures. The curriculum may also offer students the ability to develop the capabilities to manage both people and resources with the operating room setting. Course topics in the program might include:

  • RN first assistant
  • Perioperative nursing theory
  • Health care management
  • Principles in perioperative nursing
  • Fundamentals of surgical care

Popular Careers

Scrub nurses can work in a variety of health care settings including hospital surgical departments, out-patient surgical centers or a physician's office. Students may find themselves working closely with the patient and their family as well as other health care professionals involved in the procedure. Career options for a student interested in working as a scrub nurse might include:

  • Circulating nurse
  • PACU nurse
  • Pre-operation holding nurse

Employment Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics (BLS) predicts faster than average job growth for Registered Nurses (RN), the closest labor category, at 19% from 2011-2022. In May 2014, the mean annual wage for RNs was $69,790.

Continuing Education Information

Nurses may gain certification through the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) or the Certification Board for Perioperative Nursing (CNOR). However, these certification programs might require individuals to gain a minimum number of years of experience before certification.

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