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RN Registered Nurses take care of people who are sick, injured, convalescent or disabled. They care for patients by assessing, planning, intervention, implementation and evaluation, under general supervision, and in accordance with established practices and philosophy. Registered Nurses work with other professionals to ensure patient care is delivered effectively to achieve desired patient outcomes. The RN must effectively interact with the patient and family members while maintaining the standard of professional nursing. There are many travel assignments and jobs available for the Registered Nurse as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that nursing is one of the top 10 occupations with the largest job growth. Where would you like to visit? Work in a great environment and enjoy free time seeing places you have always wanted to visit. Many great opportunities await the Registered Nurse in todays market!

The OR Cardiovascular Registered Nurses assist in cardiovascular surgery procedures and handle a variety of tasks which may include handing the surgeon surgical tools and intervening if complications occur. RNs care of patients before, during and after surgery. The surgical nurses are the backbone of the surgical team. There are three types of surgical nurses, scrub nurse, circulating nurse and RN first assistant. Each nurse plays an important but different role in the procedures. The scrub nurse passes the surgeon tools, sponges and other surgical equipment. RN First Assistants play a more hands-on role. They monitor patient vital signs, suture incisions and perform emergency care such as controlling bleeding, administering drugs, performing CPR. The circulating nurses don’t participate directly in the surgery or procedure. Their job is to oversee the nursing care and ensure the operating room is clean, sterile and safe.

Duties and Responsibilities of the OR Cardiovascular RN

Duties of the surgical nurses begin well before the surgery or procedure. The RN will meet with the patient and their family members to explain the procedure and expected recovery time and answer any questions they may have. The OR RN is responsible for sterilizing and setting up the surgical tools, preparing the operating room and helping other members of the team put on their sterile gowns, gloves and masks. The RN will also clean and prepare the incision site. After the operation, the RN will bandage and stitch wounds and incisions and transport the patient to the recovery room. Patient will be monitored while awakening from the anesthesia. The RN will continue to provide care until the patient is transferred to another unit or discharged from the facility.

RN OR Cardiovascular nurses generally work in surgery centers, hospitals, clinics and private physicians offices. The work environment may be high pressure and require quick thinking and the ability to remain calm in a crisis. Surgical nurses work in a dynamic and challenging environment, taking on key roles in lifesaving surgical procedures and the surrounding care. Some surgeries last several hours and RN could spend many hours on their feet. Duties vary depending on the RN’s level of expertise. The job can be very rewarding but every time the nurse enters the OR there is a possibility of losing the patient. Compassion and tact is necessary when interacting with worried patients or grieving family members.

Job Tasks and Duties of the OR Cardiovascular RN may include:

  • Observation and monitoring of the patient, including comfort, safety, blood pressure and heart rate using EKG equipment and notify the physician if something changes or appears wrong.
  • Explain and educate the patient and family members about procedures to obtain cooperation and reduce anxiety.
  • Prepare reports of procedures and treatments for interpretation by physician.
  • Conduct electrocardiograms, phonocardiograms, echocardiograms, stress tests and other cardiovascular tests to record patient’s cardiac activity, using specialized electronic test equipment, recording devices and laboratory instruments.
  • Attach electrodes to the patient’s chests, arms, and legs and connect electrodes to leads from the EKG machine.
  • Adjust equipment and controls according to the physician’s orders or protocol.

Experience and Education

The OR Cardiovascular RN will need an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing first. Earn their Registered Nurse License and though there is no degree program specifically for OR Cardiovascular surgical nursing, there are continuing education courses in the specific aspects of cardiovascular care.

In addition to providing safe and comprehensive nursing care, responsibilities of the OR Registered Nurse would be to demonstrate understanding and utilization of universal precautions, asepsis and infection control procedures, monitor and operate equipment, assess and educate the patient and family members as required and attend rounds. The RN must be well versed in cardiovascular, circulatory and heart conditions.

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