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How to become a scrub nurse

Updated March 23, 2017

A scrub nurse works in the operating room as an integral member of the surgical team. Before surgical procedures start, the scrub nurse makes sure that a sterile field has been created in the operating room. During procedures, the nurse assists surgeons by passing sterile surgical tools and sponges. As a surgical assistant, a scrub nurse also monitors patients' vital signs. To become a scrub nurse, people must follow numerous steps.

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  1. Earn a degree as a registered nurse. In order to become a scrub nurse, people must have an associate or bachelors degree in nursing.

  2. Take perioperative nursing courses to become a scrub nurse. These courses teach students the roles and responsibilities of a scrub nurse. Many associate and bachelor degree nursing programmes offer preliminary classes in perioperative nursing.

  3. Apply for general nursing internships at local hospitals to gain firsthand experience about working in a medical facility. A general nursing internship makes it easier to obtain a perioperative internship, which is the best way to learn what it takes to become a scrub nurse.

  4. Take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs after receiving your degree. Passing this examination demonstrates nursing skills, knowledge of human anatomy and health, and other information learnt in nursing school. This is a major step toward becoming a scrub nurse.

  5. Get a job in a hospital. Many hospitals will not hire a registered nurse as a scrub nurse until that person has gained a few years of experience working in a hospital environment.

  6. Submit an application for a scrub nurse position once you gain hospital experience. The combination of internships and work experience increases your chance of landing a job as a scrub nurse.

  7. Continue education and training by taking college courses or attending training seminars. Once a person becomes a scrub nurse, he should remain up-to-date in new advances because it's a competitive field in nursing.

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About the Author

Based in Tucson, Ariz., Cicely A. Richard has been writing since 1996. Her articles have been published in the “Arizona Daily Star” newspaper and “ForeWord Magazine.” Richard earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and journalism from Louisiana State University. .

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