SMH nurses pass test
Two St. Mary’s Hospital nurses completed a five month course of study and recently passed a test offered by the Association of periOperating Room Nurses (AORN).  Judy Gehring, RN and Diane Gardner, RN, were mentored by OR nurse trainers from St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise using the RP-7 robots located at each facility.Judy Gehring, RN, with the RP-7 robot.
A variety of teaching and education methods were used during their course.  The two RNs completed their 27 module course online and used the robot to meet regularly with Tatiana Reddy, RN, BSN, CNOR, Telemedicine Perioperative Educator at SARMC. 
“As we studied each module we would beam into Tatiana’s office using her robot and the SMHC robot.  She would discuss the content with us and answer our questions,” said Gardner, who was a circulating surgical nurse in Dillon, Montana prior to joining the SMH staff last year.  
The online modules varied from one to three hours in length.  Topics covered the entire scope of perioperative care including patient assessment, surgical draping, wound closure and healing, types of surgery, equipment and instruments, sterile procedures and scrub techniques.
The robot was placed in the surgical suite at SMH during a variety of surgical procedures with the permission of the patient. Afterwards Nancy Wilson, RN, SARMC trainer, critiqued Gardner and Gehring’s techniques.  The SARMC robot was also placed in their OR so the two SMHC nurses could view their surgeries.  “Nancy provided us with helpful information after our surgeries and after the St. Al’s surgeries.  It was a good refresher for me because it had been a little over a year since I had been involved in an OR,” said Gardner, who will, along with Gehring, continue as a floor nurse and work in the OR whenever needed.
“Our surgical team was exceptional and deserve praise for helping Diane and I hone our surgical skills,” said Gehring.  “It is exciting for me to learn about and implement AORN standards.  I also want to thank the patients who gave their permission for our presence in the OR during our course.”
Circulating OR nurses ensure that everything within the surgery suite goes smoothly.  They make sure the scrub techs have everything they need and that the environment remains sterile.  In a smaller hospital the circulating nurse’s responsibility begins with admitting the patient, preparing them for the procedure, circulating in the OR and then taking care of them while they are in recovery, said Gardner.
Gehring and Gardner successfully completed the 111 question AORN test online last month.  Four Clearwater Valley Hospital nurses also recently took the course and passed the test.  It was proctored by Reddy via the robot.
St. Als is training 25 operating room nursing groups throughout the state.  SMHC and CVHC are partnering with SARMC on a variety of telemedicine initiatives.  The RP-7 robot is also being used to provide telemental health services with Boise based psychiatrists meeting with local patients.
Surgeries performed at SMH include appendectomies, gall bladder surgeries, hernia repairs and Cesarean Sections, as well as other endoscopic procedures including colonoscopies and GI tract scopes.  Dr. Andrew Jones and Dr. Ronald Sigler are often assisted by the other physicians when their patients require a surgical procedure.
Other members of the SMHC surgical crew include five other circulating nurses, four Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and three scrub techs.  Pat Forsmann, ST, serves as OR and Central Services Supervisor and Barb Michels, RN, serves as Surgical Department Manager.
Diane Gardner, RN, with the RP-7 robot.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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