Description: Recent graduates of nursing schools are unprepared to care for surgical patients due to nursing schools eliminating specialty training from their curriculum. This has created reduced interest in employment opportunities in the operating room (OR) and a general lack of awareness of how rewarding a career in the perioperative environment can be. Nursing schools do not always require a rotation or clinical observation through the operating room. The absence of perioperative curricula in nursing schools can have a detrimental effect on the recruitment and retention of perioperative nurses. This is a critical concern for the future due to the aging and pending retirement of current nursing staff.
To address the need for an introduction into perioperative nursing, A Day in the Life of an OR nurse was created. This program was designed to give nursing students who have an interest in the operating room an opportunity to experience the dynamic role that an intraoperative nurse plays as a team member in the surgical environment. In this one day class, the roles of perioperative team members are defined and students are introduced to the importance of effective teamwork.
During the classroom portion of the day, students are taught the basics of sterile technique, discuss sterile processing, instrumentation, universal protocol, and are introduced to sterile gowning and gloving with demonstration and practice. Following the classroom activities, there are two breakout sessions. The first one is experiencing a case from start to finish. This includes pulling a case, setting up and maintaining a sterile field in an actual OR suite using a basic set of instruments, introduction to counting, positioning, and draping a patient. The “patient” is an actual OR team member who has volunteered to assist. Students participate in a surgical time out which facilitates their understanding of the workflow in an OR setting. The second breakout session is a simulation with robotics and provides an introduction to this growing technology. In this session, students participate in setting up the robot for a surgical procedure and have the opportunity to use the robotics training simulator. Students learn how to drive and dock the DaVinci robot and attach the robotic arms to the trocars and to an abdominal simulator.
Teaching methodology used for A Day in the Life of an OR Nurse includes classroom lecture and videos, gaming, hands on exploration of a basic set of instruments, simulation, and demonstration of gowning and gloving by the educators with return a demonstration by the students. The day begins with an interactive game that emphasizes the importance of teamwork. This is a demonstration of how essential the team is to the successful hand off of the surgical patient as they move through the perioperative environment. Simulation is a key element in creating an authentic experience by allowing immersion in to the exciting world of A Day in the Life of an OR Nurse.