How Do You Become a Surgical Nurse?

Surgical NurseNursing is a rewarding field, and if you want to become a surgical nurse, there are specific steps that you will need to take to turn your goal into a reality. Surgical nursing is a specialty that is like no other in the field. As a certified medical-surgical nurse, you will act as the backbone of the surgical team in inpatient or outpatient surgery centers by providing pre-operative and post-operative care to patients and assisting the surgical team in the operating room.

Since the team relies heavily on the surgical nurse to coordinate all room activities, you will need to get experience before you can enter this specialty. There are a variety of ways that you can get your formal education and professional experience to get certified as a Medical-Surgical nurse with the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Here are the steps that you must take to get the clinical knowledge and the experience that you need to enter this rewarding and fulfilling specialty area:

Step One: Become a Registered Nurse

Before you can become a registered nurse you must enter into a formal degree program and complete the curriculum. If you are already a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), you can enter into a shorter two-year program to learn the clinical and practical skills you need to pass your RN exam. If you are starting fresh, you can enter into a nursing program or earn your bachelor’s degree majoring in nursing. These programs typically take four years to complete when you are enrolled in school full time.

After you complete the academic coursework and the clinical hours, you will be ready to schedule and take your registered nursing exam. You should check with the Board of Nursing in your state to familiarize yourself with the requirements and the process.

Step 2: Get Professional Experience in Nursing

The certification requirements for medical-surgical nurses include a requirement for professional experience in a nursing setting. The amount of experience that you need can range, but you will need at least one year of experience in an acute care setting and two years of experience in a clinical practice within the past three years. To be eligible, you must take at least 30 hours of continuing education credits every year that are focused on the specialty.

Step 3: Pass the Exam

When you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be eligible to sit for the certification exam. The exam will test to find out if you are competent work aside a surgeon in an operating room. It will focus on your knowledge of pre and post-operative care, coordinating the operating room and what to do in the case of an emergency. As long as you pass the exam you will become a licensed surgical nurse.

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You should always consider what the demand is like in the field that you would like to specialize in before you enroll in special courses. According to Healthcare Traveler, if your desire is to work in the operating room, you will be happy to hear that there are several openings in the Operating Room, because 25 percent of the nurses in this environment are planning to retire in the near future. Now is the time to become a surgical nurse based on the demand, so become an RN and take your continuing education classes.