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Potential void in the OR

Monday April 7, 2014
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Regarding the February End of Shift "Rekindling the Spirit" (www.Nurse.com/Article/Rekindling-the-Spirit), I would like to congratulate both the author and the editor for publishing this extremely important article. Why is it so important? Seemingly all the important activities so well-documented in this article take place when a patient is most vulnerable and at risk because he or she is consciously sedated or totally unconscious. The RN circulator is the perioperative guardian of these patients.

On another level, some of us are concerned because we know that masses of these perioperative guardians will be retiring and have retired, which results in huge voids of expertise and experience.

May I suggest both patients and RNs from all walks of nursing write letters or send emails urgently requesting every dean of nursing in every university and community college as well as every hospital administrator of any and all inpatient and outpatient hospitals in this country to consider that their nursing curriculums include in-depth perioperative nurse as a compulsory part of all undergraduate nursing programs.

Failing this will result in RN graduates not knowing what is one of the essential disciplines in basic nursing care both in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings. Without this education, how can hospitals recruit and retain perioperative RNs just like they recruit RNs in general? I included hospital administrators as an important target group for this effort simply because they have influence with their governing boards, which then can financially collaborate or support the inclusion of this vital part of an RN's basic education at the university and community college level.

Unless we RNs inform them, they may or may not know that RN students' hours allocated to perioperative patient care may not be the same numbers of hours that they are expected to complete for obstetrics, psychology, med/surg, pediatrics, pharmacy, anatomy, physiology and microbiology to name just a few.

I stand entirely corrected if indeed my observations and experiences, which span five decades of being in the field of perioperative nursing both in Illinois and California, are incorrect. If I am evenly faintly correct then this article is a "call to arms" for perioperative nursing as an integral part of a basic nursing curriculum.

— Wendy Wood-Kjelvik, RN, MSN, MSHCA, school nurse certificate
Folsom, Calif.


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