Within a medical specialty that utilizes precise techniques to fix a human condition, the role of an efficient operating room nurse is indispensable. The surgeon’s first assistant works closely with team members to make certain each procedure is performed cautiously and victoriously in a well-choreographed setting where every second counts.
In coming years, many baby boomers will be treated for various diseases, injuries and age-related frailties. In effect, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job opportunities for registered nurses to balloon by 26 percent by 2020, with top nurses earning more than $95,000 annually.
“As an O.R. nurse in Los Angeles, you’re exposed to just about every possible surgical procedure as well as cutting-edge technology,” said Bernardo “Bernie” Duran, a registered nurse for perioperative services at Kaiser Permanente’s West LA Medical Center. “We perform everything from orthopedic procedures to any trauma that might come to our operating room.”
What are your most-advanced tools?
“Our medical center is home to one of the busiest DaVinci surgical robots in the country that allows us to perform innovative surgical procedures that improve patient outcomes.”
You were recently promoted to an O.R. charge nurse. What’s that like?
“My responsibilities include scheduling, coordinating and managing personnel and equipment. In addition, I must keep up with new technology. The work is both physically and mentally challenging. However, knowing that the work I do each day contributes directly to improving the lives of our patients is an amazing reward.”
What does it take to become a good O.R. nurse?
“Anticipating the needs of the surgeon to care for the patient is key. Problem solving is also an attribute. Most important is attention to detail. Even a minor mistake can turn into something major or even fatal. A good O.R. nurse is careful not to skip steps or make errors.”
What is your advice to others?
“I encourage males to go into the field of nursing. The O.R. is not for everyone. If you are interested in pursuing this career, be prepared to work hard, learn and reap the benefits of working in a constantly changing and growing field.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.