377 - A Reflection of a Group of Perioperative Nurse Externs
Description: West Penn Hospital has a nurse extern program that is striving for excellence and to exceed expectations as it grows yearly. The perioperative program has evolved immensely from previous years with the addition of professional development and the education team being involved. The Allegheny Health networks job description for nurse externs is that they must be enrolled in an approved diploma/degree nursing program and have completed at least one year of clinical nursing experience. Nursing students applied from various states and various educational institutions. There were 50 nurse externs hired at West Penn Hospital with 6 f them in the perioperative areas; which included rotations thought pain clinic, sterile processing, preop, OR, PACU, nurse anesthetists and GI. The perioperative educator assigned the specialty assignments by coordinating with their nurse managers and also a preceptor. To further enhance their learning experience They were provided with an education binder and asked to complete a log of their daily assignments and debriefed on them several times per week. During the debriefing they were encouraged to share their experiences, ask any questions that they may have needed further clarification on, i.e. a surgery, a policy or a procedure. In addition to the weekly debriefings the educator held various classes with them several times throughout their externship. These didactic educational sessions consisted of classroom hours, simulation lab hours, teach back method for a surgical scrub, videos, and educational in-services. During the classes the nursing externs were introduced to professionalism and also encouraged to become involved in professional organizations such as Association of Operating Room Nursing (AORN) and The American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses (ASPAN). During this particular class dialogue occurred and imposed and idea of a small project that they could do as a group and to submit to one or both of these professional organizations. They then got involved a perioperative manager to brainstorm with her and the perioperative educator. They came up with a title for their project, completed it and submitted it to AORN with the perioperative educator and the manager only there for guidance for obtaining membership to the professional organizations and help with any questions along the way. We truly feel that they had a great experience and one that can never be replicated I am so proud of the externs just knowing the knowledge, team work, communication, challenges of working in a group and most of all the professionalism through the six to ten week rotations that one cannot learn through words alone.