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Emory Healthcare joins nationwide effort to address critical shortages of operating room nurses

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Janet Christenbury

Emory Healthcare is part of an inaugural group of three health care systems nationwide involved in addressing the critical shortages of operating room nurses with Chamberlain University and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.

Emory Healthcare is joining forces with Chamberlain University and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) to address the critical shortages of operating room nurses, as part of a national education and workforce solutions initiative.

Emory is part of an inaugural group of three health care systems nationwide, including Loyola Medicine in Chicago and Ochsner Health in New Orleans, involved in expanding the initiative launched by Chamberlain University and AORN. Chamberlain has the largest nursing school in the U.S. and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses is an organization focused on of evidence-based guidelines and education resources for perioperative practice, also known as operating room or surgical practice.

Starting in early 2022, Chamberlain and AORN will launch a 16-week online training module on perioperative/surgical nursing that is designed to prepare students to acquire an educational badge in perioperative nursing. Emory Healthcare is collaborating with Chamberlain University to provide local participating Chamberlain students on-site opportunities in Emory hospitals to gain insight in a supervised perioperative setting during this pilot program.

“Identifying and preparing perioperative nurses in the early stages of their education and career is a proactive approach to supporting quality health care and positive learning experiences for nursing students in the metro Atlanta area,” says Sharon Pappas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, chief nurse executive for Emory Healthcare. “We are proud to collaborate with Chamberlain University and AORN on this important initiative.”

The initiative, designed to be aligned with perioperative industry-specific competencies defined by AORN, is a non-credit bearing program offered at no additional cost to students enrolled in Chamberlain’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

“We welcome these three esteemed health care systems as they join AORN and Chamberlain University in this national effort that represents Chamberlain’s ‘Practice Ready. Specialty Focused’ approach to addressing critical workforce needs in the perioperative setting,” says Karen Cox, PhD, RN, FACHE, FAAN, president of Chamberlain.

“We believe strongly that the expansion of this initiative through the participation of these three health care systems will create a model for addressing a nationwide need for more nurses entering the field who are committed to perioperative nursing,” says AORN’s CEO/executive director, Linda Groah, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN.

The specialty badge program is designed to create a pipeline of perioperative nurses, also referred to as operating room nurses or surgical nurses, who work with surgical patients in the pre- and intra-operative process and through recovery in post-anesthesia care units.

According to AORN, the need for perioperative nurses is expected to grow because of an increased volume of surgeries and a nationwide shortage of qualified nurses. Contributing to the shortage is the fact that 20 percent of operating room nurses are expected to reach retirement age within the next five years, according to additional data collected by AORN.

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