Many nursing students aren’t afforded a surgical rotation or clinical observation of an operating room during their schooling, so we created A Day in the Life of an OR Nurse program to showcase how rewarding working in the perioperative environment can be. This event helps soon-to-be nurses decide whether working in surgery would be right for them. It also provides exposure to the profession that’s helped us land new talent.
The day begins in the classroom, when students are taught the basics of sterile technique and the importance of sterile processing; discuss instrumentation and universal protocol; and are introduced to sterile gowning and gloving. The instruction then moves to actual ORs for two breakout sessions. The first follows a simulated case from start to finish in which the concepts taught in the classroom are put into practice. The second features a robotics surgery simulation and allows the students to use a robotic training simulator.
Maintaining the ranks of perioperative nursing is a critical concern for many reasons: Some nursing schools have eliminated specialty training from their curriculums; many in the surgical nurse workforce are aging and approaching retirement; and nursing students are sometimes erroneously told they need real-life experience before they’d be considered for a position on a surgical team.
We’ve had 79 students attend the program in the last three years. Eight participants are now surgical nurses in our health system. We plan to continue the program as a recruitment tool and to increase awareness of the dynamic role intraoperative nurses play as valuable members of OR teams.
Sandra Conaway, BSN, RN, CNOR
Allison Carannante, BSN, RN, CNOR
Mandy Crabb, BSN, RN, CNOR, CPAN