New Nursing Course Gives Students OR Experience
Otterbein’s Nursing department has teamed up with OhioHealth to offer nursing students the opportunity to gain clinical experience in the operating room (OR).
This January, senior nursing majors Stephanie Johns, Joe Karch, Cody Parsons and Chris Perin spent an intensive three weeks at OhioHealth’s Grant, Doctors and Riverside hospitals learning and practicing OR nursing skills as part of Otterbein’s new Introduction to Perioperative Nursing course.
Perin said having the opportunity to see a different side of nursing was a breath of fresh air.
“Surgery has always been a fascination of mine,” he said. “My first open-heart surgery blew my mind. Most people never get the chance to see that kind of stuff. I was able to see a beating heart. Not through some diagnostic imaging or simulation. I was staring at a real, beating heart of an individual that I was speaking with not even an hour prior.”
Dr. Kay Ball, a nursing professor at Otterbein and perioperative nurse, said the course grew out of a meeting with OhioHealth about the need for more perioperative nurses.
“This is an exciting nursing elective full of simulation and clinical experiences to prepare our students for this type of nursing,” Ball said. “They learn how to prep themselves and patients for surgery, pass instruments, move patients to the surgery bed, use equipment and OR safety.”
Johns said the most challenging part of the course was learning and using the different technology in the OR, as well as becoming familiar with the surgical instruments.
“I am very thankful and proud that I am able to have these types of opportunities at Otterbein,” she said. “The experience was very beneficial. You deal with patients in their most vulnerable state and they are completely depending on you to deliver the best care that you can.”
Karch said it was Dr. Ball’s hard work that gave him the opportunity to take this course. “She is a diehard surgical nurse and made the course tons of fun, while teaching the role of the nurse in the surgical setting,” he said. “Clinical experiences like these can lead to possible job opportunities down the road thanks to the reputation of Otterbein University and its nursing instructors.”
In fact, Dr. Pat Keane, chair of Otterbein’s Nursing department, said OhioHealth is excited about being able to hire Otterbein nursing students, who are interested in perioperative nursing and have taken this course. “Through this course, OhioHealth will have already seen our students to know they are people they want to invest in,” she said. “It’s a win-win for us, our students and OhioHealth.”
Perin said the experience was invaluable. “Through this course, I was able to find something I love to do and have fun with. It has also potentially helped me line up a job for after graduation,” he said. “I’ve met so many different people through my experiences at Otterbein, and every single one of them wants me to succeed.”
Ball said the course was well received by Otterbein, OhioHealth and the students, and the goal is to double the number of students enrolled in the course next year.