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Manage Operating Room “Traffic” with Erin Elizabeth, Operating Room Circulating Nurse

Erin ElizabethSpecial thanks to OR Nurse, Erin for giving us a sneak peak of what it is like to be an OR Circulating Nurse. The passion that you have in what you do amazing! Kudos to your firm commitment in nursing and for being an inspiration to many!

What type of nurse are you?

Operating Room Circulating RN

What are your credentials?


Where do you work?

Hoag Hospital

Why did you decide to become a nurse? And why did you choose your particular field of nursing?

My mother is a nurse, so I grew up around the medical fields. Science and the human body has always fascinated me, and I never get tired of learning about it. Being in surgery, I am never bored and I get to see the human body in the most complex way right in front me!

Tell us about your field of nursing.

A typical day for me includes getting to work and checking the surgery schedule to see what room I am in, what surgeries I have for the day, what doctors I am working with, and what tech or scrub nurse I have with me. I then gather everything I will need for the day based on the schedule, set up my room for the first case, and go and meet my patient in pre-op holding. I take the patient back with the anesthesiologist after loads of paperwork and consents, and then I get the patient on the table prepped and ready for the surgery. During the surgery, I am the eyes and ears and advocate for the patient. The circulating nurse is the leader of the operating room and makes sure everything is in order the whole day so the patients are kept safe.

What do you love about your job?

I love that my job is never boring! Every day is different. Even if the surgeries are the same, they are still very different because each patient is different with a different medical history. I love that I am always learning in the surgery setting. I love the atmosphere and the interactions between the entire staff. Being a surgery nurse takes a very specific personality, and it makes for fun days.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is the fact that not only is it emotionally and mentally tiring, it is extremely physically exhausting as well. The days are long, and they involve lots of pushing, pulling, and lifting. The physical aspect is something I didn’t expect, and it definitely requires you to be rested and in good physical health to perform your best on a daily basis.

What kind of operating room nurse are you? Tell us in the comments below and share to us your duties and responsibilities.