April 20, 2023

Health systems add additional training, educational resources for nursing, perioperative staff

Editor's Note

Training and retention of staff is a top priority among healthcare leaders today, as increased healthcare demand and staff shortages continue to affect facilities across the country. Most recently, Geisinger, as well as Lutheran Medical Center and  Houston Methodist Hospital have introduced and expanded educational and cross-training programs to support career development, reduce turnover, and maximize staff.

Geisinger in Pennsylvania announced on April 18 that it has added three new career pathways to its Nursing Scholars Program, which provides financial, educational, and professional support to employees pursuing a career as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, surgical technologist, or certified medical assistant.

The program serves as an entry point for high school graduates and those interested in this career path, and opportunity to mitigate the staffing shortage.

“We’re focused on a team-based care approach, which gives our nurses the support they need to focus on delivering the highest-quality patient care,” said Janet Tomcavage, executive vice president and chief nursing executive at Geisinger. “We’re creating more opportunities to build a team where everyone can practice at the top of their skillset while also helping employees further their careers.”

Lutheran Medical Center, part of Intermoutain Healthcare in Colorado, found creative ways to utilize staff by bringing licensed practical nurses (LPNs) into the acute care setting to be a resource for staff and a second set of hands when needed, as reported in the February issue of OR Manager. The LPNs train with RNs under the AORN Periop 101: A Core Curriculum OR nurse education program.

“The plan is that having the flexibility and versatility of that team, with how much we’re putting into training them to function as scrub nurses and secondary circulator, will help decrease costs in the long term, especially by limiting the need to use travel nurses,” said Amanda Brown, MS, APRN, PCNS-BC, CNS-CP, CNOR, nurse professional development specialist.

Ayumi Fielden, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, CPAN, perioperative professional practice leader at Houston Methodist Hospital developed a program to train and retain skilled PACU nurses, as published in the March 2023 issue of OR Manager. The program has allowed graduate and acute-care nurses who did not have critical-care skills to develop their PACU skills without impacting the OR schedule.

“I would have felt lost and overwhelmed without this program,” Elizabeth Lieu, MSN, RN, AGNP-C, a graduate nurse who participated in the residency program said. “As a new graduate, it was difficult to connect the dots regarding a patient’s situation, but the direct exposure to the PACU through the residency program solidified my foundational knowledge of acute and critical care.”

Perioperative staffing issues are expected to persist throughout 2023 due to rising case volumes and lack of experienced staff. For more information about the current industry trends, read State of perioperative workforce in 2023: Part 1, published in the April issue of OR Manager. The next article covering ASCs will appear in the May issue.


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