In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

BASIC DESCRIPTION

The circulating nurse, an integral part of the perioperative team, serves as an advocate for patients who are under anesthesia and/or sedation. Responsibilities include ensuring that surgical asepsis is adhered to during the surgical procedure, keeping track and conducting an inventory of
supplies and equipment used during and after the surgical procedure, or calling for a time-out. The Joint Commission has specified a “time-out” immediately before surgery to prevent surgical errors.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Registered nurse licensure is required; Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Basic Life Support certifications are mostly required for this position; Certified Nurse Operating Room certification is highly desirable.

CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED

■ Excellent communication skills
■ Ability to work with members of the perioperative team
■ Excellent observation skills
■ Knowledge of asepsis, infection control, and effects of anesthesia

RELATED WEB SITE AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION

■ Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (www.aorn.org)

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