Utica College Nursing Students Head to the Operating Room

Nursing student simulation lab

Clinical rotations offered through Utica’s accelerated nursing program in New York provide a real-world view of nursing. This fall, Utica College nursing students from our first cohort are spending part of their third semester observing adult and pediatric surgeries in the SUNY Upstate operating room.

Director of Nursing Education Nicole Cook, RN, MSN, CNOR said it was important to her that Utica nursing students get more exposure to an RN’s role in the operating room. “I was an OR nurse for eight years, and it’s not an area that’s often highlighted in pre-licensure nursing programs. When I left nursing school, I didn’t really know much about it,” she explained. “I wanted more for our students. You see a lot of things in the OR that you’ll never encounter on a standard medical/surgical floor.”

Each student in the cohort will complete eight hours of OR observation as part of their third-semester clinical experience; four in the adult unit and four in the pediatric unit. Observations began the week of September 9 and run through the end of October.

SUNY Upstate is a Level 1 trauma center – the highest level of surgical care available to trauma patients – so there’s no telling what a Utica nursing student will see. “So far, they’ve watched a bowel resection, spinal surgery, urological surgery to fix a sphincter and a pediatric appendectomy. During the bowel reception, one of the medical students opened up the bowel to show our students what a colon looked like. They’ve seen broken bones and a brain,” Cook said. “They also talk to OR nurses, surgical technicians and recovery room nurses to understand how to talk to patients and how to care for children who are brought in for surgery.”

Following each shift, students turn in a writing assignment that outlines what they experienced and how nursing responsibilities in the OR differ from working at the bedside.

According to Cook, the response from Utica’s nursing students has been overwhelmingly positive. “For those who were already thinking about OR nursing, it confirmed their interest. For those who didn’t know what to expect, they’ve said things like, ‘It’s much more interesting than I thought!’” she said. “You can do so much with a nursing degree. It’s important to be open-minded about where you can go.”

Where will you go with a bachelor’s degree in nursing? Learn more about the Utica College nursing program by contacting us at 866.892.6747.

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