Perioperative Nurse

Perioperative Nurse is a valuable member of the surgical team, comprising of surgeons, surgical technologists, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and other assistive personnel in any health care facility having surgical rooms. They work closely with these surgical room professionals providing patients operative or other invasive procedures.  

These nurses are known as operating room nurse or an OR nurse. They work in surgical settings such as surgical units of hospitals, physician’s office surgical room, day-surgery (or ambulatory surgery) units, military surgical rooms and clinics. The responsibilities require them to work with the patients before, during and after surgical procedures. They asses the health of the patients, chart out a course plan for treatments of the patients undergoing operative process, carry out the treatments, perform stress test evaluations and cardiac monitoring. Their duties require them performing preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care in the surgical rooms.      

Perioperative Nursing Roles

Perioperative Nursing roles can be divided as Scrub Nurse and Circulator Nurse.

Scrub nurse – directly works with the surgeons in the operation theater. They perform duties such as passing of the surgical equipments, surgical gowns, caps, masks, sponges, eyewear, and gloves, and other surgical instruments needed during the surgical procedures. The designation as a scrub nurse is offered to them as they are required to scrub their hands constantly by using disinfecting solutions for disinfections. In practice, such jobs are basically performed by the UAP, LPN, or LVN.

Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)

The RNFA have more extensive education and training to work in surgical units. They directly help the surgeons in controlling bleedings of the patient through the use of medical devices and equipments. They also handle and cut tissues and suture during the surgical process and provide with patient care before and after surgery.

Patient Educator

In addition to working with the patients, the perioperative RN educator also helps the patient and their family members by informing them about surgical care and treatment.


The duty of the circulating nurse is to manage the nursing care of the patient at the time of surgery in the operating room. They observe and coordinate with other surgical teams, so that all surgical procedures are carried out in the best possible manner, sees that the patient is safe and comfortable, safe and comfortable environment is created and maintained for the patient in the OR and no breach is occurred. The circulator nurses have their focus in the safety of the patient and oversee the condition of the patients, before, during and after the surgery procedures for the best possible outcome.

Therefore, circulating during the surgery is the job function of the Perioperative Nurse and the role performed by the Circulator is not assigned to UAP, LPN or LVN.

During the time of surgical process, the patients are anesthetized and they are powerless to make any decision on their own, which necessitate the Circulating nurse to advocate on behalf of the patient for the best care outcome.

OR Director

The role of the operating room director is to oversee and manage the OR of the facility and it is his responsibility to look after, manage and maintain budgets, staffing, supplies, scheduling, and other responsibilities that can help OR function smoothly.