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Career Story: Operating Room Nurse At A Level 1 Trauma Center

Operating Room Nurse At A Level 1 Trauma Center

Job Title: Operating Room Nurse

Type of Company: I work in a level 1 trauma center in the Worcester, Massachusetts area.

Education: diploma, nursing, Framingham Union Hospital School of Nursing (Framingham, MA)

Previous Experience: I trained as a surgical technician while going through nursing school. After school, I worked at Marlboro hospital in the operating room for two and a half years.

Job Tasks: I am a registered nurse in an operating room that is open around the clock. My job is to "run the room," in the parlance of the hospital: I meet the patients and make sure that what they consented to is the procedure that is going to be performed. I stay with the patients as they fall off to sleep and I am there with them again when the anesthesia wears off. I also assist the doctors in "scrubbing the case," meaning that I hand them instruments while an operation is in progress. I love both parts of my job: running the room (circulating) and handling the instruments (scrubbing). I have been in this type of nursing for 22 years.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the flexible hours. I work the 7PM-7AM shift so I can be home with my children and only go off to work as they go off to bed. I love meeting and helping the people I encounter. They come in scared and I am pleased to be able to offer them comfort.

The worst part of my job is not being able to help every patient. Sometimes their injuries are just too serious. I will always attempt, though, to comfort their families.

Job Tips: Sign up for a nursing career as soon as you can because it is difficult to get into. Be willing to work any hours available when you are first starting out. Later, a year or two down the road, when you've put your time in, the odds are good you'll be able to snag the hours you want.

Additional Thoughts: This job can be very stressful at times; you have to deal not only with the patients but their families, the doctors and the other nurses. It helps to be organized and flexible. I guess if I were to change one thing about my career I would have gone for my bachelor's degree. But at the time the diploma in nursing seemed like enough and it was all you really needed to work as a nurse.

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