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Operating Room Nurse Internship

The Operating Room Nurse Internship Program is designed to meet the learning needs of the professional nurse with a desire to practice in this specialty area by providing knowledge, skills, and clinical application at the beginning level of practice. Our interns have no prior work experience in the operating room setting.

Upon completion of the Operating Room Nurse Internship Program the registered nurses will be able to:

  • Apply and demonstrate the principles of aseptic technique
  • Identify the role and responsibilities that are necessary to provide safe, professional nursing care to the surgical patient
  • Function as a competent member of the operating room team
  • Assume accountability and responsibility for his/her own actions
  • Recall the policies and procedures of the department

Theory Content

The Operating Room Nurse Educator shall plan, schedule and teach the program according to the assessed needs of the nurse interns and the program objectives. Generally, this is three to four weeks in length.

Clinical Application

The Operating Room Educator, staff nurses and the nurse intern shall plan the clinical experience according to the assessed needs of the nurse intern and the established objectives. The length of the clinical experience will vary according to the ability of the nurse intern and the availability of the learning opportunities. Generally this averages 8 weeks for the first cluster then 4 weeks for the other clusters. In total approximately 6 months in length. This is not a one size fits all interns program, you may need more or less time in a cluster depending on your comfort and feedback from preceptor.

Scheduling Clinical Applications

Factors Influencing experience:

  •  Intern needs
  • Objectives of the services
  • Availability of the procedures
  • Surgeon availability

Scheduling and documentation is done by Operating Room Nurse Educator.


  • Operating Room Nurse Educator
  • Staff nurses
  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesia Tech, PST & CSD staff, CSTs, ASU/PACU, Wound Care Specialist, OB

Teaching Methodologies

  • Lecture
  • Readings
  • Demonstration
  • Return demonstration
  • Audio-visual aids
  • Observation
  • Discussion and conference
  • Structured and supervised practice and clinical experience
  • SIMS Center experience (if fits into schedule)
  • Quizzes
  • Self- study (worked in to each day of didactic portion)


  • Written quizzes at the end of each lesson, review and discussion during didactic
  • Test given at the end of didactic portion, must obtain an 85% to continue employment
  • During rotations through the clusters a weekly evaluation is done by intern and preceptor
  • Weekly meetings with all of the interns and the Nurse Educator together to support each other and individually as needed

Nurse Internship Curriculum

  • Evolution of O.R. Nursing/Philosophy of MMC O.R.
  • Aseptic Technique
  • Sterilization
  • Safety in the O.R. for you and the patient
  • Hemostasis
  • Sutures
  • Instrumentation- identification/counting
  • Positioning
  • Anesthesia
  • Medication Administration
  • Equipment Operation
  • Documentation
  • Communication Skills/Techniques

*Curriculum is based on AORN Recommended Practices

Phase 1

  • Internships run 2-3 times a year
  • Weeks 1 - 4 didactic /must pass a test with at least an 85% to continue employment. You are thoroughly prepared to pass the test
  • This portion is a combination of all learning styles
  • You are then paired up with a preceptor for 8 weeks in their specialty of the O.R. and you work their schedule

Phase 2

  • Rotate through all clusters approx. 4 weeks each
  • The goal is for you to be able to do core cases in each cluster by the end of the rotation
  • You are evaluated weekly by your preceptor, goals and open communication are established
  • At the completion of all of your rotations (6 months) you will be placed in a cluster and on a shift depending on the needs of the O.R.

Qualities we Look for in an Intern

  • Flexibility
  • Sense of Humor
  • Organization
  • Ability to Prioritize
  • Ability to Multi-Task
  • Maturity
  • Team Player
  • Good Communication Skills
  • Willing to Learn & Receive Feedback to Improve Upon Performance

Applications will be reviewed and candidates chosen for an interview. After all potential candidates are interviewed they will be reviewed and a select group will be chosen for a second interview. The second interview consists of a 4-5 hr. surgical observation with a brief interview. This allows the applicant to experience the environment of the operating room and to determine if this is right for them.

For more information on how to apply, please contact Denise Metcalf BSN, RN, CNOR at (207) 662-1701

What is the Role of the R.N. Circulator?

Acts as a patient advocate while the pt. is under anesthesia.
Manages overall nursing care in the operating room.
Maintains a safe environment for the patient and staff.
Carries out their duties outside of the sterile area.
Manages all of the necessary care inside the room.
Monitors and observes the team from a wide perspective.
Uses assessment, critical thinking, and planning skills to direct pt. care and the activities of the team.

How many staff do you employ in the O.R at MMC?

Over two hundred RNs, Surgical Technologists and Peri-Operative Service Technicians work in the O.R.

What kind of surgery is done in the MMC O.R.?

We are a Level I Trauma Center with 29 O.R. Suites. We do Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular, Endo- Vascular, GYN, GYN-Oncology, Plastics, Robotic, Bariatric, Pediatric, General, Trauma, Neuro (brain & spine), Dental, Orthopedic, Ortho-Trauma, and Genitourinary surgeries.

How many nurses are certified in their specialty?

We currently have 71% of eligible nurses certified in our specialty of Peri-Operative Nursing /CNOR.

What specialty and shift will I work when I am done the Nurse Internship?

We do not hire into a specific specialty or shift. The Internship is 6 months long and a lot can change in that time. As we get closer to the 5 month mark we know what cluster and shift you will be working. Your placement is all based on the needs of the O.R.

Do I need O.R. experience to be hired for the Nurse Internship in the O.R.?

No, if you are hired into the Internship then you have no O.R. experience. We hire new grads and nurses with experience in other specialties.

Is there a commitment to the O.R. after the Nurse Internship is complete?

Yes, we ask for a verbal commitment of one year full time after your orientation of 6 months is complete.

What type of advancement is available to staff?

After you have worked in the O.R. for 2 yrs. you are encouraged to take the CNOR exam. There is a Clinical Ladder Advancement Program that you may participate in by following the guidelines. We have many staff members that are members of O.R. and Hospital wide committees.

What national organization are you affiliated with?

We follow AORN recommendations for policies and procedures. We have a local chapter that meets at MMC monthly and many of our nurses participate by attending or serving as a chair person.

What is the most difficult part of the Internship?

Most nurses had little to no exposure to the O.R. in nursing school. Hearing is a skill that takes about 3 months to develop. Everyone wears a mask, they are at the sterile field, and they are asking for equipment and instrumentation that you have never heard of.

What should I think about before applying to the O.R.?

Remember that patient interaction is very limited. It is about 3 min. from the time the pt. comes in to the O.R. until they are asleep. If you think this is something you need to feel fulfilled then O.R. nursing is not for you.

What is one word to describe an O.R. nurse?