Texas Medical Center News, Dec. 1, 2010.

When specially trained nursing students graduated this December from UTMB Health, they were ready and willing to apply their skills in an operating room setting.

“Perioperative nursing (operating room nursing) involves specific skills and training. Some employers are reluctant to hire OR nurses just out of school, because they think the new graduates have not yet had the opportunity to gain experience in the OR setting,” said Patricia Richard, associate professor and associate dean for undergraduate program and education technology at UTMB’s School of Nursing 

To prepare nurses to be "OR ready," UTMB is offered its first concentrated, two-week format course in perioperative nursing in December. The course is specially designed for students in UTMB's accelerated nursing program, an intensive one-year program for individuals who hold bachelor's degrees and careers in non-nursing fields, but who now desire to become nurses.

"These students are very successful at UTMB. They're mature, have excellent study habits and have a clear goal in mind," said Richard.

The UTMB perioperative nursing course is competency-based and includes lecture and textbook, as well as clinical instruction, with actual operating room training. Course areas covered include patient assessment and critical thinking for positive surgical outcomes, coordination of interprofessional teams and resources, safety in the operating room environment, aseptic techniques and ethical and legal implications of surgery. Students who complete the course receive a perioperative nursing certificiate from UTMB's School of Nursing.