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How Do I Become a Surgical Nurse?

My question is if i wanted to eventually become a surgical nurse what steps would i take to become one? Do i start with LPN to RN and then take special classes. I’m not sure. Thank you for your help! Colleen


Hi Colleen, thanks for your question – surgical nursing hasn’t come up yet. I’m not sure if you mean working as a nurse on a surgical unit or in the operating room (OR), but I’m going to assume you mean in the OR as that is a different type of nursing.

To become an OR nurse, you first need to get your registered nurse (RN) degree. You could choose to go straight for your RN or you may decide to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) first. If you do get your LPN diploma first, then you need to continue on to become an RN. Which path you choose depends on your personal preference.

If you decide to go straight for an RN degree, you must decide if you want an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). While a BSN isn’t required for OR nursing, more and more hospitals are asking for BSNs from their new hires.

Not all hospitals require certification for their OR nurses. In some places, it is possible to learn on the job, so to speak. However, many facilities do require certification and even in those that don’t, certification can be a big advantage over other non-certified nurses. After all, if you’re certified, they don’t have to spend the time and money teaching you how to do the job.

The Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) provides you with the type of information you need regarding the type of studies you must take, where, and how long, and the type of certification you may apply for.

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