Maridel Asuncion never found her niche during nursing school. Her education focused on different units in the hospital and nothing really piqued her interest.
Asuncion’s mom, who is an operating room nurse at RWJBarnabas Health, always spoke passionately about her job, so when Asuncion discovered the New Jersey-based system offered OR training for nurses as part of orientation, she applied. Her education didn’t give her much exposure to the OR and she saw a future there.
“A lot of the OR nurses I met, they plan to stay in the field for a long time. Low turnover rates say a lot about the job,” she said.
After spending five weeks in the OR simulation lab in April, Asuncion is now a full-time OR nurse and continuing her orientation at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, one of RWJBarnabas’ 11 hospitals.
Since 1999 the system has offered the training opportunity for its employed nurses as well as recent graduates in order to build a pipeline of nurses with spe- cific OR skill sets, which aren’t taught extensively at most nursing schools even though the demand is high. And earlier this year, the system took the program a step further by building a simulation lab in an unused OR complete with mannequins and other equipment.
“We saw that we had a great program here, but we knew the simulation aspect was missing,” said Mary Beth Russell, vice president of the Center for Professional Development Innovation and Testing at RWJBarnabas Health.