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What Does a Registered Nurse Do at an Ambulatory Surgery Center?


Ophthalmology is a rewarding career choice with many different opportunities available depending on your interests and skills. No matter what your role is, you have the power to truly make a difference in someone’s life.

One of the positions where you have a key role in patient care is as a registered nurse (RN) in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Keep reading to find out what this role involves and some of the key requirements you need to be a registered nurse.

What is an ambulatory surgery center?
An ambulatory surgery center is a healthcare facility that provides patients with the option to have procedures done safely outside of a typical hospital setting. Ambulatory surgery centers provide the same quality and patient care as hospitals but often at a reduced cost.

Cataract surgeries and procedures outside of ophthalmology are performed at this type of facility. Staff members, such as registered nurses and doctors, must have appropriate certifications or degrees and be qualified to work in ambulatory surgery. 

Staff members in support roles, such as those working at the front desk, usually don’t need certifications. The business unit leader is the head of the surgery center and primarily runs the day-to-day work in the ambulatory surgery center. They are generally a registered nurse who leads many other RNs and those in other roles in the surgery center.

What’s the role of a registered nurse in an ambulatory surgery center?
Because there’s no room for error, team members in ambulatory surgery centers must be detail-oriented and able to quickly think on their feet to deal with unexpected events that may occur. In this type of high-stakes environment, soft skills such as strong communication, patience, flexibility, multitasking, attention to detail, and the ability to remain calm under pressure and adapt to changing environments are very important.

Registered nurses, in particular, play a critical role in ensuring patients are safe, comfortable, and prepared for their surgical procedures. For registered nurses at ambulatory surgery centers, job responsibilities and requirements include:

Registered Nurse Responsibilities

  • Preparing patients for their surgical procedures
  • Monitoring patient’s vital signs and assessing their statuses
  • Continuously evaluating patient recovery from anesthesia
  • Collecting clinical data with patient’s medical and nursing care teams
  • Administering and charting medications as ordered by physicians
  • Providing emergency care according to physician and administrative policies
  • Promoting physical comfort and providing emotional support and safety for patients
  • Tailoring patient care by health status, age, and the procedure being performed
  • Circulating and/or scrubbing surgical procedures
  • Reinforcing and clarifying physician instructions and explanations of procedures
  • Coordinating nursing interventions to help achieve expected outcomes
  • Monitoring surgical inventory and notifying individuals when supplies are needed
  • Assisting with both preoperative and postoperative patient calls
  • Reviewing patients’ charts for completeness and signatures of physicians
  • Supporting anesthesiologists, surgeons, and other physicians as needed

Registered Nurse Requirements
To qualify for a registered nurse job at an ASC, candidates must possess:

  • A current nursing license with their state’s board of nursing
  • Successful completion of Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) courses within 90 days of hire*
  • Two years of experience in pre-op (preferred)

*If BLS and ACLS certifications are not already current upon hire

Experience the Vision Integrated Partners difference!
At Vision Integrated Partners (VIP), we’re committed to helping our patients and supporting our employees. 

When you work in healthcare, your team is incredibly important to you, and at VIP, we have a supportive family-like culture where you can feel at home with your coworkers. It’s also important that our employees have the continuous learning opportunities and resources they need to achieve their career goals and grow.

Speaking of growth opportunities, VIP is actively growing and is always on the lookout for top talent to work in the ophthalmology field. We have open roles across the country for registered nurse jobs, administrative positions, and more.

Explore our open roles and apply now to join our team!