Your World's Black Lives Matter Statement Statement

Tel: 020 7220 0811


We currently have over 4635 live roles

How to Become a Theatre Nurse

30th Nov, 2020

How to Become a Theatre Nurse

Theatre Nurses are there for patients when they are at their most vulnerable, supporting them through the entire surgical process.

They are the first point of contact for patients, the professionals who ease any worries that a patient has about their surgery. And after surgery, they are the first person that patients see when they wake up. 

If you’re thinking about becoming a Theatre Nurse, keep reading! Here’s how you can become a Theatre Nurse, and what you will be doing once you have become one!

How To Become a Theatre Nurse

Be a Registered Nurse

You will need to be registered with the NMC as an adult, child, mental health, or learning disability nurse to be able to work as a nurse in Theatres.

Before you apply, it can be useful to get an understanding of perioperative care through reading or further education studies. However, you don’t actually need to have any previous training except for your nursing degree! 

Have the Right Soft Skills

As a Theatre Nurse, you’ll have a lot of valuable skills, that can be transferred to many different environments – in and outside of hospitals! Below are some of the soft skills that you will need to have to thrive in theatres:

  • Be able to work in a fast-paced environment, with attention to detail
  • Be able to stand still and concentrate for long periods
  • Be able to react quickly and calmly under pressure
  • Be highly organised, tidy, and able to prioritise
  • Be compassionate and flexible

Get Specialist Training

After your induction period, you will need to complete specialist training and some courses to reinforce and strengthen your skills.

There are many further education courses for Theatre Nursing and Perioperative Care that you can take as a Registered Nurse. Although many of them require you to already be working as a Theatre Nurse, so it is worth looking into this during your induction period! The courses are often part-time, so you will be able to remain working while you study!

What Theatre Nurses Do

Theatre Nurses have many roles and responsibilities. You’ll definitely never get bored as there is always something to do!

You will be part of each stage of perioperative care, from the admission of the patient to their recovery and discharge.


As an Admissions Nurse, you will make sure that the patient is aware of why they need the surgery, and any risks involved. You’ll listen to the patient and answer any questions that they might have. You’ll also make sure that they are fit for surgery.


As the Anaesthetic Nurse, you will prepare any equipment needed for the anaesthetising of the patient, including specialist equipment, devices, and drugs. You’ll then support the Anaesthetist in delivering the anaesthetic before assessing the patient before they go into surgery.


There are two main nursing roles within the operating theatre; these are the Scrub Nurse and the Circulating Nurse. Generally, you will rotate between these for different surgeries.

As the Scrub Nurse, you will be working within the sterile part of the operating theatre. You will help clean the patient’s skin and hand all instruments, including sharps and swabs, to the surgeon when they are needed. You will be in charge of all instruments, making sure that they are all present and accounted for before the surgeon can close the patient up. 

As the Circulating Nurse, you will be responsible for the smooth running of the surgery. You’ll manage the nursing care, and make sure that the scrub team has everything that they need. You will also be the patient’s advocate, making sure that the patient’s needs are the priority throughout the surgery. You will also communicate any calls or messages to the Scrub Nurse so that they can inform the surgeon.


As the Recovery Nurse, you will monitor the patient’s health before and as they wake up. You’ll support them through the recovery process, offering care and assessing them before they are discharged to make sure that it is safe.


Working as a Theatre Nurse is incredibly rewarding. You get to see the tangible difference that you make to patient’s lives in every shift, after every surgery. Theatre Nursing is also a sought after role, with many different areas within surgery, so there will always be available jobs.

If you’re looking for work within Theatres, you can find jobs here or get in touch on 0207 220 0825