Role of the RN in Surgery

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Role of the RN in Surgery Essay

Registered nurses in the operating rooms across the planet are increasingly evolving in the scope and range of their surgical assisting occupations. Registered nurses or RNs, as these healthcare professionals are referred to, assist the surgeons in the operating room. While the first role of the registered nurse is to be of assistance to the surgeon or in most cases, a team of surgeons that are operating on a patient, there exists a secondary role that must be understood and realized in order for the operation to be a success. In this paper, both factors of the role of RN’s in surgery will be addressed and discussed. Role of the RN in Surgery Essay.The secondary role of the registered nurse while in the operating room is mainly to see to the non-surgical care of the patient as a patient advocate.

Keywords; registered nurse, surgery, surgical assistants, operating room

Since the role of registered nurses is an ever evolving one in the surgical sites of hospitals, day surgery centers, and the like, it is important to gain an understanding of this evolution of nurses in operating rooms (Farley, Latham, 2011). With the advent of more responsibilities and patient care factors in the operating rooms, it is the registered nurse that bears the brunt of this increased responsibility.


The surgeon or the surgical team is considered the lead in any surgical environment. As this makes sense, it is also important to realize that the registered nurse has taken on more of the secondary, patient care duties, than ever before. Registered nurses in the operating room have been a staple for more than a century with the first RNs in the surgical rooms of the world, occurring in England.

Registered nurses assists the patient with anything that these comprised individuals need. It matters not that the patient is conscious as most of the time, while in surgery, the patient is unconscious. Operating room nurses are called perioperative nurses as this term correctly identifies the role of the registered nurse in the surgical environment. The operating rooms may be in a hospital or possibly in a separate building devised primarily for day surgery episodes. This transference of surgical episodes out of the traditional hospital to the specialized day surgical center, has created a special type of operating room registered nurse.

The evolution of registered nurses in these specialized environments has made it especially difficult for these highly trained surgical patient advocates to conduct all that needs to be done in a surgical episode. With having the tasks of assisting the surgeon as well as the patient during surgery, the amount of pressure and stress at times, that is placed upon the perioperative nurse is increasingly difficult to handle.Role of the RN in Surgery Essay. Additionally, the legal ramifications of making a mistake and being sued for medical misconduct, albeit purely by accident, have made the role of a registered nurse in surgery a fragile encounter (Adams, 2007).

The medical profession has accepted the increasing role of the registered nurse in the operating room as this is something that cannot be minimized. While there are those in the surgical field that have major complaints about the role of RNs in the operating room, as a whole, the medical community has acknowledged that these healthcare professionals are an asset to the patient.

As the main custodian to the patient before, during, and after, surgery, it is the role of the registered nurse that has taken center stage in most cases. This is an important factor to educate the public as well as private medical communities on as the regarding of the registered nurses role, in nay surgical environment, must remain positive and beneficial. The comprimisation of either the registered nurse or the surgeon in the operating room on the basis of seniority and authority is a debate that has to be neutralized.

One of the most important roles of the registered nurse in the operating room is that of surgeon assistant. As the surgeon is the lead member of any operational episode, it is a chain of command setup that must be strictly adhered to and respected. The life of the patient is the most important factor in the surgical setting and anything else that threatens to corrupt this balance is seen as demonstrative and unnecessary.

The registered nurse in the operating room is the primary custodian of clinical care for patients. By aptly and intelligently assisting to the care and requirements of the patient, while at the same time, ensuring that the surgeon has what he or she needs in an instant, makes the role of a registered nurse in surgery, a fascinating and compelling adventure in patient advocacy. Role of the RN in Surgery Essay.

In summation, the role of the registered nurse during operational episodes can be seen as a multi-dimensional undertaking (Mayo, 2011). The cause and affect relationships that develop on an almost instantaneous basis makes the role of RN in the operating rooms, one of immense importance and patient advocacy care and concerns. It is the upwards evolution of the registered nurse in the scope of surgical assistance, that has created an immense need for more education, and a better method of transitioning the associate nurse, to the role of a perioperative nurse (Murray, 1998).

Adams, P. (2007). Surgical Nursing. Careers and Colleges. Alloy Website.

Farley, T. L., Latham, G. (2011). Evolution of Critical Care Nurse Practitioner Role Within a US Academic Medical Center. University of California San Francisco Medical Center,San Francisco, California ICU Director January/March 2011 vol. 2 no. 1-2 16-19.

Mayo Edu. (2011). Perioperative Nursing Career Overview. 2011 Mayo Foundation for
Medical Education 2011.


Murray, W.J.G. (1998). Matter for Debate – Nurses in Surgery – Opportunity or Threat? A Personal View. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh J. R. Coll. Surg. Edinb., 43 December 1998, 372-373.

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Surgical Nursing requires a special person to meet the demands of the precision this task calls for. It is a fine-tuned art that requires keen senses to have the ability to multitask with precise perfection to ensure the patient will be afforded the utmost care, comfort, safety, teamwork among staff, and confidence they should expect in a situation that does not exhibit the best of times in their life. In this paper, we will inform the reader of the meticulous role of the surgical nurse, salary range and job availability, pros and cons, and how the patient takes number one priority in order for them to receive the best care possible within the Surgical Nurse’s scope of practice. Role and Job Responsibilities Medical surgical nursing is the framework for all nursing practice. Role of the RN in Surgery Essay. Prior to modern day nursing, almost all nurses were medical or surgical; that is where all nurses started. Medical surgical nursing, once an entry-level position, has evolved to a specific specialty. Rather than a stepping-stone, medical surgical nurses are the backbone to most all institutions. These nurses specialize in the care of patients with surgical or non-surgical conditions. This group of healthcare providers accounts for one of the largest and in most demand. As a medical nurse, you will have a very complex job. You work as an advocate and health educator for your patient. That could mean managing as many as five to seven patients at a time. Medical surgical nursing is not the easiest but many find it very rewarding and find satisfaction, that no two days are ever alike. As a medical surgical nurse you work with your patients before, during, and after surgery. Before surgery you want to explain the procedure to them and help prepare… … middle of paper … …gether so the nurse is able to be the best provider the patient has. Conclusion The scope of practice for the Surgical Nurse is not for just anybody. In order to better serve the patient, the employer, and the nurse him/herself, the nurse should fully understand the demands this role has and make an informed decision. With this paper, we were able to show the reader what it takes to be a Surgical Nurse, the demands this role has, salary range and job availability, pros and cons, and why the patient must take number one priority. The research we have provided is just the doorway opened to the future for nurses looking for a potential specialty in this practice. There are many roles a nurse can fulfill so the best advice we can offer is to do personal research in the role of interest and always make a well rounded, informed decision. Role of the RN in Surgery Essay.