OR Circulating Nurse (Circulator) Job Description

A circulating nurse, or circulator, is a registered nurse whose function is to monitor the procedures in operating rooms during surgery. During operations and other surgical procedures, the circulator assists by acting as an intermediary between the operating room staff and the rest of the hospital.

Responsibilities of the circulating nurse include:

  • Ensures that the surgical room is sterile and safe for the patient.
  • Works side by side with scrub nurses to help maintain the sterile field in the operating room.
  • Prepares the patient for the procedure and handles the preparation for the operating room before the surgery takes place.
  • Must have a strong attention to detail and physical stamina to handle long, arduous work hours.
  • Assess the patient’s condition before a surgical procedure.
  • Assesses the needs of the patient during the procedure, to ensure the best outcome.
  • Works with a physician to develop the care plan for the patient during the surgery
  • Continues to evaluate the patient’s condition during the procedure and makes changes to the care plan as necessary
  • Ensures that the sterile field is not compromised during the procedure
  • Keeps the surgical area clean and organized for the scrub nurse and the physician; removes instruments and sponges as they are used during the procedure

Additional duties of the circulating nurse may include the responsibility of supervising surgical technicians, and to transport any specimens that require diagnostic testing to the laboratory.