Perioperative Nurses Week is November 12-28 in honor of the medical professionals who work in America’s operating rooms.

Our perioperative nurses and surgical technicians are critical to the service we provide the community.

They are skilled in all types of surgery, and care for patients before, during and after their procedures.

They are the nurses “behind the masks” who patients may not remember by name or face – but their role in helping surgeons before, during and after surgical procedures is critical to the hope and healing provided every day at Regional One Health.

November 12-18 is Perioperative Nurses Week in recognition of the nurses and surgical techs who work in operating rooms all over the country. At Regional One Health, our perioperative team is a crucial component of our ability to serve the community.

Regional One Health offers surgical procedures for a growing number of patients with a wide range of conditions. As a Level-1 Trauma Center, we provide lifesaving surgery for patients with the most complex, critical injuries who come from a 150-mile radius.

Regional One Health has also implemented a program to train a new generation of perioperative nurses. Perioperative 101, a premier education program for RNs entering the perioperative specialty, fully prepares them with up-to-date information in the classroom and online along with clinical experience to reinforce what they have learned.

Perioperative nurses and surgical techs are critical to patient care in the operating room. They are skilled in all types of surgery, including trauma, orthopedic, neurological and more.

Kyle Edwards, RN, MSN-Ed, Associate Director of Perioperative Services at Regional One Health, said perioperative nurses and surgical techs are an essential component of the health care system.

“Perioperative nurses are the primary advocates of patient care, with a hands-on approach,” she said. “Our nurses are present with the patient from beginning to end. They stay aware of everything the patient needs and ensure they get the attention they need.”

For scheduled surgeries, perioperative nurses start by preparing patients prior to going into the OR. Then, a circulating nurse manages care of the patient while in the OR, and a post-anesthesia care (PACU) nurse cares for the patient during their recovery.

The nursing team is responsible for planning and monitoring surgical patients, as well as safety issues such as positioning, pressure injury prevention, and infection prevention.

Regional One Health also partners with Concorde Career College as a clinical site for its surgical technology program. Surgical techs are responsible for passing instrumentation and sterile supplies to the surgeons. “Our surgical techs are critical partners to our surgical team,” Edwards said. “They are able to anticipate the needs of the surgeon and preparation can be done quickly for emergent cases.”

Edwards said Regional One Health’s perioperative team is second-to-none.

“Working at a Level-One Trauma Center demands the highest skills in the operating room,” she said. “On average, around 30 percent of our level-one trauma patients require immediate surgery. Our teams jump into action with one goal – to save that life.”

Perioperative nurses and surgical techs don’t just focus on one specialty – they are trained and prepared to care for all types of injuries, including orthopedic, vascular, neurologic, traumatic, etc.

Our Perioperative 101 program trains the next generation of perioperative nurses, teaching them the specialized skills they need to work in the operating room.

“They have to be ready for whatever comes through the doors,” Edwards said. “Every specialty has different equipment and needs, and our teams can quickly accommodate the needs of each service. Some cases require more than one specialty to operate at the same time, but our team is able to make it happen day after day.”

Due to the crucial nature of perioperative nursing, Regional One Health has started an initiative to train a new generation of providers.

Regional One Health started offering Perioperative 101, a course produced by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), in January 2023 to train nurses to work in the operative room. Perioperative nursing is not part of the education curriculum in nursing school, so new operating room nurses have to learn an entire new skillset.

“Perioperative 101 is a six-month course available to RNs that offers an excellent opportunity to learn the skills needed to be a perioperative nurse,” said Karen Elliott, professional development specialist. “The course focuses on preoperative and intraoperative nursing, providing nurses with the knowledge and skills they need.”

So far, Edwards said, the response has been positive, with 11 nurses graduated and eight students currently in the program. She said the course is an excellent opportunity for nurses to advance their career and for Regional One Health to maintain a strong, skilled perioperative nursing team.

“Our Perioperative 101 curriculum follows evidenced-based guidelines to support safe, high-quality care for our patients,” she said. “This program is helping us grow a knowledgeable, highly skilled perioperative nursing team that excels in providing optimal care for our patients.”

To learn more about Perioperative 101, contact Karen Elliott MSN, RN, Perioperative Education Specialist, at [email protected]