Pre-op nurses, also called preoperative nurses, are registered nurses who specialize in assisting patients scheduled for surgery before they go into the operating room. As part of the surgical department, pre-op RNs play a vital role in perioperative nursing. Their job takes place in the preoperative holding area where they physically prepare surgical patients, while helping alleviate their anxiety.
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Pre-Operative Nurse FAQs
How Much Do Pre-Operative Nurse Jobs Pay?
For jobs available on Vivian as of Wednesday, October 20th 2021, the average weekly salary for a Pre-Operative Nurse is $3,171, but can pay up to $5,538 per week.
- min - $2,039
- avg - $3,171
- max - $5,538
What does a Pre-Op nurse do?
Pre-op nurses perform all essential duties to prepare patients physically and psychologically for surgical procedures with the goal of creating positive patient outcomes. This includes collecting medical histories and vitals, while assessing patients’ conditions to ensure they’re stable enough for surgery. Pre-op nurses also ensure operative and informed consents and other documents are complete, but their primary objective is to provide emotional support to patients and their families. This includes explaining specific details about patients’ procedures and answering questions to reduce apprehension. Other duties a pre-op nurse might perform include:
Performing necessary pre-op tests, such as chest x-rays or blood glucose measurements
Starting intravenous catheters
Applying monitoring equipment, including pulse oximeters
Cleansing and/or shaving procedure areas
Ensuring patients void before surgery
Administering prescribed preoperative medications
Monitoring patients and their vital signs
Maintaining patients' baseline hemodynamic statuses
Identifying expected patient outcomes
Troubleshooting potential problems before bringing patients to the OR suite
Communicating with other surgical team members to ensure consistent patient care
Maintaining and restocking supplies and equipment in preoperative holding area
Where do Pre-Op nurses work?
Pre-op nurses work within the preoperative holding areas in the surgical unit of hospitals and medical centers. They may also work in ambulatory or outpatient surgical centers, teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals, and cancer centers.
What skills make a good Pre-Op nurse?
RNs who work in pre-op have specialized knowledge and skills in perioperative nursing and surgical equipment, and advanced knowledge in acute patient care and assessment techniques. They excel at establishing rapport with patients through empathy, compassion, and their solid interpersonal, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills. These skills help them effectively gather patient information, while also communicating with patients so they fully understand their upcoming procedures. Good pre-op nurses are organized and detail-oriented, so they can gather lots of data in short amounts of time without making patients feel rushed. Other desirable skills include prioritization, interdisciplinary teamwork, and leadership skills to effectively work as part of a surgical nursing team.
How to become a Pre-Op Travel Nurse
Pre-op travel nurses must be registered RNs, which requires an associate or a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution, passing the NCLEX-RN exam and completing licensing requirements. RNs must also obtain Basic Life Support certification, plus Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support when working with adults and Pediatric Advanced Life Support when working with infants or children. Most travel pre-op nursing jobs prefer applicants with previous surgery experience.