Growing specialty area exposure with an undergraduate perioperative nursing course

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NURSING STUDENTS are exposed to many different specialty areas during their undergraduate education, but many are minimally or never exposed to perioperative nursing.1 Exposure is often not enough for the student to gain a full understanding of the nurse's role in scrubbing, circulating, or first assisting. Graduate nurses who aren't aware of the perioperative nurse's role will likely not apply for available positions in the field upon graduation.1,2
Currently, there's a severe worldwide shortage of perioperative nurses. Many of these practicing clinicians are age 60 or more, and research indicates that up to 64% of perioperative nurses are planning to retire by 2022.3-5 Additionally, the demand for perioperative nurses in the United States is growing steadily by 1% to 2% each year as the result of increased surgical caseloads.6-10 So, a critical shortage of perioperative nurse leaders can be expected.4
Educators concerned about the perioperative nursing shortage may want to consider offering a related course to their students. By taking a perioperative nursing course, undergraduate nursing students will gain more in-depth exposure to this highly specialized area of nursing. An appreciation for perioperative nursing will help inform and shape their future career choices.
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