Medical Definition of circulating nurse
: a registered nurse who makes preparations for an operation and continually monitors the patient and staff during its course, who works in the operating room outside the sterile field in which the operation takes place, and who records the progress of the operation, accounts for the instruments, and handles specimens Though they wear scrubs and masks like the rest of the surgical team, circulating nurses stay outside the sterile field—located closest to the patient—as they deliver instrumentation and other supplies to the surgical staff.—Kelly Bothum, The News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), 18 Sept. 2012
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