Has anyone completed the perioperative nurse residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock?
Did you feel like it was the right choice to gain experience in the OR?
I have 18 months nursing experience and have been looking to go into the OR. Not sure if that disqualifies me from the applicant pool, but I'm going to try anyways! Would love feedback on the program.
I had only 10 months of med-surg experience before going into the program - which did not help for the program but helped when I was hired in an OR of a smaller hospital where there were no residents or students helping all the time. OR nursing is very different than floor nursing, with a different knowledge base and skillset. But being a patient advocate and understanding their conditions and needs are the same though!
I went through their program in 2006 when it was cut from a 9 month program to a 5 month program (I don't know what it is now). I do wish I had been in the original 9 month program with more training in specialties. That said, it did give me a great basic OR training program, and I was exposed to procedures there that I would not see at a smaller hospital. As a teaching hospital there were many residents and students in the OR, with so many hands helping with the patient I did not get the full impact of the role of the circulator. I needed a bit more orientation when I went to a smaller community hospital. The Dartmouth OR training program was very thorough in its didactic teaching of all aspects of the circulating and scrub nurse roles, just a bit shy on the clinical training in each specialty.
Go in with eyes open though - know that you will not be on a prime shift when you are finished training. They lost a majority of my training class because they misrepresented the shifts that new OR nurses would be given. The promise was to be put on day shift where the new OR nurse would have plenty of support starting out; the reality was a second shift position.
The OR is a GREAT place to work, but there are different types of OR's - ambulatory care settings, small hospital OR's, trauma centers, teaching hospitals and medical centers. No matter where you start, don't feel stuck; there are many different types of OR settings, find the one that is right for you.