Operating Room Team: Unsterile Members

Operating Room Team

Patients undergoing surgery will be taken care of the operating room team. Safety and privacy of patients in the OR is safeguarded by the operating room team members. Personnel inside the OR consist of the operating surgeon, assistants to the surgeon, a scrub person, an anesthesiologist and a circulating nurse. Each member of the OR team performs specific function in coordination with one another to create an atmosphere that best benefit the patient.

The team is divided into two divisions according to the function of its members.

  • Sterile OR team: operating surgeon, assistants to the surgeon and scrub person
  • Unsterile OR team: anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, circulator and other OR members that might be needed in operating specialized machine or devices.

Unsterile Operating Room Team

The unsterile operating room members are not allowed to enter the sterile field to prevent contamination. The responsibilities of the members of this team are the following:

  • Handle supplies and equipments that are considered unsterile.
  • Touches unsterile surfaces only.
  • Keep the sterile team supplied with supplies handled aseptically.
  • Give direct patient care.
  • Assist the sterile team member’s need with strict observation of avoiding contact to the sterile field.
  • Handles other requirements arising during the surgical procedure.

Unsterile Team Members

Anesthesiologist or Anesthetist

Difference between an anesthesiologist and anesthetist

An anesthesiologist is a medical practitioner who is certified by a certain institution while an anesthetist could either be a qualified and licensed nurse, dentist or a physician who administers anesthetics. The anesthetist works under the supervision of an anesthesiologist or a surgeon when administering a drug or gas.

Responsibilities of an anesthesiologist or anesthetist

  1. Choice and application of appropriate agents.
  2. Choice and application of suitable techniques of administration.
  3. Monitoring of physiologic function.
  4. Maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance.
  5. Blood replacement.
  6. Helps in minimizing the hazards of shock, fire and electrocution.
  7. Use and interpret correctly a wide variety of monitoring devices.
  8. Overseeing the positioning and movement of patients.
  9. Oversee the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) to provide resuscitative care until the patient has regained vital functions.


A circulator is preferably a registered nurse. However, in some cases a surgical technologist can perform the role of a circulator with the direct supervision from a registered nurse.

Responsibilities of a circulator:

  1. Monitor and coordinate all activities within the room.
  2. Manage the care required for each patient.
  3. Provides assistance to any member of the OR team with strict observation to avoid a break in sterility.
  4. Creates and maintains a safe and comfortable environment for the patient through the implementation of aseptic technique.

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Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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