Circulating Operating Room Nurse RN

Functions in a supervisory role and is free to move about to assist all other personnel before, during and after each surgical procedure. Focuses all efforts toward the maintenance of the principles of surgical asepsis, protection of the patient from the external environment and maintenance of the patient’s self concept.

Department: Surgery
Chain of Command: Circulating Operating Room Nurse RN, Director of Surgery, Director of Nursing and Clinical Services, CEO
Supervises: Scrub Tech
Pay Scale(s): Hourly, Non Exempt, Shift Differential, Specialty Differential, Call Pay, Call Back Pay

Physical and Mental Requirements

  • Extended periods of standing or walking
  • Manual dexterity
  • Pushing, pulling
  • Repetitive motion
  • Lifting/carrying >=50lbs
  • Crawling
  • Climbing
  • Kneeling, bending
  • Walking
  • Visual Acuity
  • Hearing Acuity

Work Conditions

  • Inside
  • Occasionally Highly Stressful
  • Proper Body Mechanics


  • OHSA Blood Bourne Pathogens Class I
  • Exposure to Ionizing Radiation
  • Exposure to Anesthetic gases and drugs
  • Exposure to chemicals

Job Qualifications


  • Graduate of an accredited School of Registered Nursing

Licensure, Registry and Certifications

  • Registered Nurse licensed by the State of Texas
  • CPR, BLS, and ACLS preferred

Knowledge of the principles, terminology, standard practice methods, techniques and new developments in surgical nursing


Prior Work Experience

One year as a professional registered nurse preferred

Technical Training

Current CPR Certification

Primary Responsibilities

Maintains sanitary conditions and provides support for operating room activities.

  • Damp dusts operating room suite(s) and work areas with disinfectant each morning
  • Maintains entire surgical suite(s) and contents in a clean and orderly manner
  • Knows the location of all equipment, supplies, and instruments
  • Knows the location and arrangement of all furniture and equipment in operating room
  • Prepares operating room equipment and supplies needed for each surgical case
  • Assists with the transportation of patients to the surgical suite(s) and from the post anesthesia recovery unit to the nursing units
  • Knows the location of resuscitation equipment and its functions
  • Knows the location of emergency medications, their ramification, effects of the drugs and possible adverse reactions
  • Knows and employs proper techniques for the cleaning of the operating rooms after each surgical procedure
  • Restocks each operating room and work area after the daily surgical schedule is completed or sooner if indicated
  • Obtains the correct number of sterile items required for the next day’s surgical procedures from Central Sterilization
  • Performs major cleaning of all work areas and equipment as scheduled

Provides Direct Patient Care during the immediate pre-operative phase

  • Reviews the pre-operative diagnosis and planned surgical procedure
  • Reviews the patient’s medical history and any allergies
  • Accompanies the post-operative patient from the operating room to the post-anesthesia recovery room
  • Determines that the operative consent form is correct and has been signed by the patient
  • Assesses the patients’ medical status as to level of consciousness, organ perfusion, and respiratory status
  • Determines the patient’s present psychological status and needs
  • Answers any questions that the patient addresses or any concerns that the patient voices
  • Explains everything that is done prior to instituting the procedure no matter how minor it may seem
  • Attaches non-invasive monitoring equipment and obtains initial vital sign levels
  • Determines that the patient is properly positioned and restrained to the operating table
  • Communicates any questions or problems to the physician or other members of the surgical team
  • Assists in pre- and post-operative patient teaching program
  • Provides care appropriate for all ages based on age specific needs according to departmental policy.  

Provides Operative assessment of the patient

  • Ascertains that the principles of asepsis are being maintained
  • Ascertains that all patient monitoring devices and grounding devices are in proper working order
  • Maintains communication between the surgical team and the patient’s family
  • Ascertains that the patient’s environment is one that is safe and therapeutic
  • Collects and maintains patient related data
  • Observes and maintains patient’s vital signs and vital systems
  • Assists anesthesia personnel in direct patient care activities.

Provides Post operative assessment of the patient

  • Maintains a safe and therapeutic environment
  • Observes and maintains patient’s vital signs and vital systems
  • Assists with transporting of the patient to the post-anesthesia recovery unit and closely observes the patient’s vital functions
  • Assists the recovery room staff in direct patient care activities.  

Provides support during the surgical procedures

  • Assist the nurse in assembling supplies and equipment for each surgical procedure
  • Ascertains that the patient has had a proper shave prep as needed
  • Makes all appropriate counts with the scrub nurse and the RN before the procedure starts and also at the appropriate time during the procedure
  • Enforces the principles of surgical asepsis
  • Identifies the patient, checks the I. D. band, and addresses the patient by name
  • Questions the patient as to the type of surgical procedure that is to be performed
  • Checks the patient’s chart for blood studies, DBC, T&C, Urine studies, UCG for patients undergoing hysterectomy, D&C, History and physical, allergies, pre-operative medication, dosage and time, pre-operative vital signs, operative permit, and ECG if over 40 years of age
  • Positions the patient on the operating table and applies restraint strap(s) over the patient’s thighs
  • Performs “time-outs” before each procedure with the appropriate staff
  • Attaches electrosurgical grounding pad(s)
  • Assists anesthesia personnel during induction of anesthesia and during intubation of the patient
  • Cares for the tissue specimen(s) after removal from the sterile field and logs specimen(s) in book located in the recovery room
  • Assists the scrub nurse with the application of the sterile dressing
  • Disconnects all special equipment when no longer needed and sees that it is properly cared for

  • Communicates positively and respectfully to audience (coworkers, patients, physicians, and others)
  • Performs required tasks without prompting and adjusts appropriately to situations
  • Adheres to the attendance policy
  • Follows District and Department Policies
  • Attends required meetings and in-services
  • Participates in Hospital District Safety Program and QA Programs
  • Uses time and resources wisely. 8. Maintains HIPAA, keeping patient and hospital confidentiality
  • Maintains adequate supplies of items needed to perform job, orders, or reports low items to supervisor
  • Practices proper phone etiquette, identifying self and department
  • Reports adverse events regarding patients, guests, or self to supervisor  immediately.