A scrub nurse’s role in the perioperative nursing care majorly involves the sterilization and handling of surgical instruments and supplies. With experience and a certification in perioperative nursing, an RN can pursue a career as a scrub nurse. In this CareerStint article, we’ve described the job of scrub nurses and their salary range.
Registered nurses require certification and training in perioperative nursing to be a scrub nurse. These nurses earn higher than registered nurses, given the challenging work they are involved in. As a perioperative nurse, you can serve as a scrub nurse, a circulating nurse, or an RNFA (RN First Assistant). Many job profiles require you to serve as both, a scrub nurse and a circulating nurse.
Perioperative nurses have several duties to be fulfilled, that involve caring, nursing, communicating with the patient, preparing the OR and surgical instruments, assisting the surgeon with instruments, and helping with procedures after the surgery. Of these, a scrub nurse typically has the following responsibilities.
Before the Surgery
► Scrub nurses have to prepare and comfort the patient before the surgery by easing his nervousness, explaining to him the procedure, etc.
► They need to prepare and sterilize the instruments and equipment that are going to be used for the surgery. Maintaining asepsis is one of the major surgical requirements, and ‘scrubbing in’ involves sterilizing surgical instruments, cleaning hands, and wearing surgical garments. Scrub nurses ensure that the OR is sterile before the surgery.
During the Surgery
► Scrub nurses are expected to ensure that the surgeons are provided with what they need to prepare for the surgery, and to help them in dressing up in surgical garments.
► They assist the surgeon by passing him the requisite medical instruments. This requires them to be prompt and swift in acting. Many times, they are expected to know the surgeon’s requirement even before he asks. Thus, a basic understanding of the surgical procedure helps. Also, they should be able to interpret the surgeon’s signals and promptly provide him with the required tools.
► Scrub nurses are also required to count the instruments and tools and ensure that they’ve been cleaned and placed back in their respective positions. They are expected to coordinate with the circulating nurses.
► They require to communicate and coordinate with the health professionals involved in the surgery.
After the Surgery
► They are required to assist the surgeon in the cleaning and dressing up procedures. They monitor the patient’s recovery and keep a tab on the required documentation in coordination with the circulating nurse.
According to Indeed, the average salary of a scrub nurse is USD 65000. It may differ across states and vary based on the skills, experience, and job role. Typically, the salary range for scrub nurses is USD 50,000 to 75,000. In most cases, they are also expected to assume the responsibility of a circulating nurse. In New York and Massachusetts, scrub nurses are paid a salary of USD 79,000, which is the highest. Hawaii is reported as the lowest-paying state with scrub nurses earning about USD 40,000.
As per the recent survey of the ‘Association of periOperative Registered Nurses’, there is a growing need of perioperative nurses in various medical facilities. However, there is dearth of professionals in this field. Given this increasing demand, the scope for growth, and the challenging work involved, scrub nursing looks like a really good field.