The primary pathway to becoming an operating room nurse is to first become an RN and then find a position within a surgical hospital. However, some health science centers, medical facilities, and even community colleges offer certificate programs for RNs who are interested in gaining further education in the field. Perioperative nursing certificate programs require incoming students to be nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN exam. Some schools with perioperative nursing programs give preference to nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Operating Room Nurse Certificate
Operating room nursing certificate programs last approximately four months. Nurses learn the basics of anesthesia, needles, and safety in the operating room. Relevant experience and knowledge can translate to certifications for those RNs who pass qualifying examinations. Students participate in clinical or practical courses and lectures. Students discuss the surgical environment, operating room safety and needles and sutures. Courses cover a variety of topics, such as:
- Introduction to perioperative nursing
- Perioperative assessment
- Aseptic techniques
- Operating room safety
- Scrubbing in
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a perioperative nursing certificate program can earn a few different nursing positions within an operating room team. Some of these include:
- Operating room nurse
- Scrub nurse
- Circulator nurse
- Operating room director
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that job opportunities for all registered nurses, including those working in an operating room, would grow by 12% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than average for all occupations. The median annual wages for registered nurses in May 2018 were $71,730.
Nurses who have completed at least two years of preoperative nursing experience are eligible to sit for a certification examination given by the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). Students who complete a certificate program accredited by AORN can often have clinical program hours count towards those two years of experience.
RNs who want to become operating room nurses may simply seek employment in a surgical hospital where they will get hands-on training. However, many RNs pursue an Operating Room Nurse Certificate to improve their skills and chances of employment.