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Operating Theatre Nurses

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© Julie Damond/MSF.

Our Operating Theatre (OT) Nurses often work with emergency teams to treat people wounded in conflict zones or through natural disasters.  Alternatively, you could join a team providing longer-term surgical care to communities without access to a functioning health care system.  No matter where you are working be prepared for the fact that diagnostic equipment and facilities in the operating theatre will be limited – there may not even be an X-ray machine.

As an OT Nurse with Médecins Sans Frontières you will manage the OT, recovery room and sterilisation team. Close collaboration with surgeons, anaesthetists, hospital ward supervisors and the logistics team is required.

If an emergency arises that requires your skills we may ask you to go to the field at very short notice. You may also be on call 24/7 while working in the field.  However Médecins Sans Frontières does offer OT Nurses the opportunity for shorter-than-usual assignments.


  • Compliance with Essential Criteria for all potential Field Workers
  • Experience in general surgery, trauma, orthopaedics and/or obstetrics
  • Familiar with sterilisation and hygiene procedures in the OT
  • General knowledge of all OT duties (must be able to train staff and manage the OT)
  • Ability to work in a low-tech environment
  • Available to work in the field for at least 3 months


  • Experience as an OT Nurse Manager
  • Available at short notice (in emergencies we may need OT Nurses to leave within 24-48 hours)


Your CV MUST include the following information:

  • Specific details of your duties, responsibilities within the OT ('assisting with….' is not sufficient detail)
  • Your experience and role in relation to sterilisation and hygiene
  • Types of surgeries you have experience with
  • Number and type (major/minor) of surgeries per month in the OT
  • Number of staff you work with and/or manage in the OT


Read about Ursula Alwash's placements in South Sudan and Syria.

Rachel Marsden talks about her experiences in Nigeria and Haiti.

Eileen Goersdorf shares stories from her placements in South Sudan, Nigeria and Gaza.

Ruth Priestley reflects on her experiences in Syria.