What is an Operating Room Assistant?

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An operating room assistant (ORA), is an unlicensed individual that assists during the everyday operations of surgery.

As an operating room nurse, you’ll quickly realize how important ORA’s are for everyday life in surgery. But, when I first started, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what they did or what they could do for that matter.

So today, we’re going in-depth of what is an operating room assistant, how much do they make (salary), and what do they do?

What Does an Operating Room Assistant Do?

What do Operating Room Assistants (ORAs) do everyday? A lot of ORA’s will typically start off by helping to prepare the operating suites for the day.

This usually will involve setting up the rooms, moving around beds, bringing around case carts, and other various tasks. In addition, they might even help with positioning the patients or perform other skills.

OR assistants also help with room turnover. This includes cleaning up after a procedure, taking out the trash, taking dirty instruments to sterile processing, and helping anesthesia turnover.

Day-to-day activities will vary based on the individual hospital/surgery center. But, as an OR assistant, you can expect these basic responsibilities.

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How Much Does an Operating Room Assistant Make?

Operating room assistants can expect to earn on average $37,000 per year (source). Although, there most likely will be a lot of potential to earn more.

Operating rooms are often short staffed, and can benefit from additional help. So, your opportunities to earn more money won’t be stifled.

Operating Room Assistant vs Surgical Assistant

OR assistants differ greatly from Surgical Assistants (SA). This is mainly because SA’s help surgeons with the actual procedure. For example, they help surgeons make incisions, close incisions, place clamps, or retract tissues.

While ORA’s won’t help with the procedures directly (they won’t scrub in). As an ORA you are more involved with setup, equipment and processing versus performing the procedure.

Full Time Nurse

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