How to Become a Scrub Nurse – Career Guide

By | July 12, 2016
How to become a scrub nurse

Having empathy for people undergoing surgical procedure can be an inspiration to become a scrub nurse.

How to Become a Scrub Nurse – Career Guide

To become a scrub nurse will provide you the opportunity to render help to patients undergoing surgical operation.

If such career path interests you, then this post will guide you through the process of becoming one, including the training and certification required to qualify as a scrub nurse.

Now, let’s begin with the question:

Who is a Scrub Nurse?

A scrub nurse is a kind of medical personnel whose services are required mainly in the theatre to assist with tools and equipment required for surgery.

They are often referred to as perioperative nurses or Operating Room (OR) nurses.

They also offer care to patients in fast-paced surgical environments, prepare operating suites, and ensure that surgical procedures go on in a safe and successful manner.

Scrub nurses usually operate a constantly busy schedule daily. The job is equally challenging and full of new experiences.

Although there are nurses who may be generalists who act as scrub-ins in surgical processes, older and more experienced ones may pick up specialist areas to focus on.

Educational Requirements and Training to Become a Scrub Nurse

Most scrub nurses receive a surgical training as part of their Registered Nursing (RN) or LPN training. However, certificate programs to become a scrub nurse are offered by a few schools.

Experience may be gained by assuming a circulation nurse role, which comprises taking care of patients pre and post operation stages or obtaining an associate degree in nursing.

The minimum requirement to be a scrub nurse may in some cases be at least an associate degree in nursing, although the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) suggests that scrub nurses hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Associate degrees can take up to two years, and are easily available at community colleges, and career centers, but a Bachelor’s degree may require a minimum of four years of full time study.

However, in general the education of nurses covers extensively areas like pharmacology, biology, clinical methods, professional growth and development, as well as extensive hands-on trainings.

Scrub Nurse Certifications

Once the required training has been obtained and the candidate passed the National Council for Licensure exams (NCLEX-RN), experienced scrub nurses can now pursue a voluntary Certification Board for Perioperative Nursing (CNOR) certification which requires an RN license and about 2400 hours of perioperative nursing experience.

Courses to be encountered during certification training may expose the individuals to areas like Perioperative nursing theory, healthcare management, principles in perioperative nursing, and fundamentals of surgical cares.

The candidate is given between three and four hours to complete a 200 multi type question, which is expected to test in areas of proficiency in nine perioperative subjects.

Institutions and Schools for Scrub Nurse Training

A number of institutions and schools offer Bachelor’s and advanced degrees in nursing, and they include:

  • Herzing University which does not only offer Associate degree in medical assisting, but also a Master’s of Science in Nursing
  • Colorado Technical University offers a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing
  • Kaplan University offers even up to a Doctorate in Nursing practice
  • Indiana Wesley University offers a Bachelor’s degree program in nursing
  • CDI College offers diploma nursing programs.

Roles, Duties, and Responsibilities of a Scrub Nurse

The responsibilities of the scrub nurse includes preparing the operating area by making certain that the proper instruments and equipment needed are laid out for surgical procedures.

They begin by disinfecting themselves and putting on the required clothing. When giving the go-ahead by surgeons, ORs can handle equipment, assist in surgical procedures, and monitor patients throughout the period of operation.

Scrub nurses also play the vital role of providing support to patients who are going through difficulty experiences. So, basically, the role of the scrub nurse can be summarized as:

  • Assisting the surgeon by passing equipment and any other instruction as may be directed by the medical personnel
  • Taking care of non-surgical duties like preparing the patient and their family for an operation, as well as assessing patients and preparing them for pre- and post-operative care
  • Complete proper documentation even after operation
  • See detail scrub nurse job description here.

Skills and Qualities Expected of Scrub Nurses

Excellent communication skill is very important for the success of a scrub nurse, since as a member of a medical team, interactions with all involved will be vital for the success of clinical procedures.

The work also requires a great deal of physical and mental stamina, as the OR in most cases may be required to spend long hours on their feet, although they may be typically required to work on an 8 to 10 hour shift.

Scrub nurses need good decision-making skills, and keen eyes for details. They also need an empathic nature to help them ease anxious and suffering patients.

Career Opportunities in Scrub Nursing

Scrub nurses can be found in all types of health facilities that provide medical and surgical services, like in hospitals, offices of physicians, and ambulatory surgery centers.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% growth in scrub nursing jobs between 2011 and 2022.

Salary Expectations for Scrub Nurses

The average salaries for scrub nurses could hover around $67,800 per year, and in the case of large nursing facilities it may soar to as much as $127,000 for nursing Directors.

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