The circulating nurse acts as the patient advocate by ensuring the safety of the patient while under the influence of anesthesia during the period of operation. While the patient is undergoing the operation, the circulating nurse assesses and monitors the patient and uses skillful clinical judgement and critical thinking to direct care and the activities of the team for the patient’s best interest. The circulating nurse collaborates with other members of the team including the anesthesiologist, surgeon, surgical technologist, surgical assistant, and other personnel.
Perioperative nursing is a nursing specialty that a distinct set of skills and knowledge through specialized education and advanced training. After earning a bachelor’s degree is completed, a perioperative certificate can be pursued. Like all nurses, in the state in which they operate they are expected to obtain a nursing license.