A registered nurse first assistant is a very specialized area of nursing. An RN first assistant assists the surgeon during a surgical procedure. The exact responsibilities vary depending on the type of surgery and the individual surgeon’s preference. But RN first assistants generally control bleeding, suture incisions and intervene during complications. For example, if a patient develops an abnormal heart rhythm during the procedure, an RN first assistant may administer medication to treat the condition.
RN first assistants may also care for patients before surgery, such as providing pre-operative instructions or answering questions. After surgical procedures, RN first assistants may assess patients to see how they are recovering and provide discharge instructions.
All three areas of surgical nursing are different and may have different requirements to get started. Nurses interested in working in the operating room will need to become registered nurses. Although some facilities may hire nurses with a two-year degree, many hospitals prefer to hire nurses with a bachelor’s degree.
Nursing school will include classes in microbiology, nutrition and community health nursing. Clinical rotations in areas, such as pediatrics, emergency room care, and obstetrics is also part of most nursing school’s curriculums.