In response to the critical shortage of perioperative nurses in the country, Galen is launching a Perioperative Nursing elective course. Beginning in October, Galen will offer this elective to pre-licensure BSN students in Nashville and San Antonio. The course will expand to all Galen campuses starting in January 2024.
This addition to the curriculum highlights Galen’s commitment to expanding educational opportunities, preparing nursing students for specialized roles, and addressing a need within the healthcare landscape.
The Unique Challenges and Responsibilities of Perioperative Nursing
Perioperative nursing is an area that demands extensive training and expertise. A perioperative nurse carries out responsibilities involving everything from preoperative preparation to postoperative care. They work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical technologists to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient before, during, and after surgery. Their tasks may include preoperative patient assessments, monitoring patients during procedures, ensuring sterility in the operating room, and providing postoperative recovery care.
The challenges are immense and diverse. “There are more than 15 OR (operating room) surgical specialties and each of them has technology specific to the specialty,” explains Linda Groah, CEO and executive director of the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). “It can take OR nurses nine to 12 months to be oriented in one or two specialties and up to two years to be oriented in all surgical specialties.”
Addressing the Perioperative Nursing Gap
The urgency of the perioperative nursing shortage is emphasized by the fact that only 6.4% of RNs have a primary specialty in perioperative nursing. In fact, there are currently only 539,753 perioperative nurses currently employed in the United States. The most common degree for perioperative nurses is a bachelor’s degree, earned by 48% of nurses in the field. Close behind is an associate degree, held by 37% of perioperative nurses, while a master’s degree is held by 8%.
Interestingly, Delaware has emerged as the most attractive state for perioperative nurses, with Denver, CO, witnessing the highest demand for this specialty.
Perioperative Nursing Through Hands-On Learning
The perioperative elective is crafted for students who want to dive deeper into the details of perioperative nursing, blending theoretical knowledge with practical application. A significant component of the course involves the study of the role of a circulating scrub nurse. Students will engage in field observations within a pre-selected perioperative setting, ensuring they gain an understanding of perioperative nursing.
Influencing Future Career Choices
Research shows that 26% of nurses who enrolled in a perioperative nursing elective chose to work in the perioperative setting after graduation. Impressively, 83% of the nurses who took the elective but did not immediately pursue perioperative nursing indicated they would consider shifting to this specialty in the future.
The introduction of this elective is a testament to Galen’s dedication to providing diverse, dynamic, and industry-relevant educational experiences. With this new addition to the curriculum, Galen hopes to inspire a new generation of nurses to explore and contribute to perioperative care, significantly impacting the broader healthcare sector.
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