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Perioperative Nurses Week – Standing for Patient Safety and Excellence in Surgical Practice

Photo of Perioperative nurse Jacqueline Deal, Perioperative Nurse (OR Nurse), Orthopedics (left); Pre-admission nurses Cheryl Leon Reid (centre, left), Laura Robichaud (centre, right); Perioperative nurse Megan Reid (right)

November 12 to 18 marks Perioperative Nurses Week which honours and recognizes the dedication and impact of perioperative nurses. The theme of this year’s week is: “Standing for Patient Safety and Excellence in Surgical Practice,” something we count on our exceptional colleagues to promote and support each day for our patients.

In all aspects of the surgical journey, from pre-operative assessment to recovery, perioperative nurses have an integral role in providing care for their patients and supporting surgical teams in and out of the operating room.

Perioperative nurses, Jacqueline Deal, Cheryl Leon-Reid and Laura Robichaud, from the QEII Health Sciences Centre - Halifax Infirmary site, and Megan Reid, from Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, tell us about their roles. 

Jacqueline Deal
Operating room nurse, Orthopedics
Halifax Infirmary site, QEII Health Sciences Centre

What led you to Perioperative Nursing? 
My journey into perioperative nursing stemmed from a natural interest and passion for surgery, as well as a deeply personal experience of witnessing my grandfather’s traumatic injury and the surgical interventions he underwent as a result. This deepened my understanding of the emotional and physical challenges patients face during such critical moments and emphasized the importance of skilled and compassionate perioperative nursing care.

What is most rewarding about your role? 
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as a perioperative nurse is witnessing the impact we have on our patients through the provision of compassion and empathy. The relationships with our patients while they are in our care is not only deeply gratifying but also essential during their most vulnerable time. The connections we form during these short periods extend beyond immediate care and shapes the overall patient perception of healthcare and their recovery process. It's amazing how, in such a short amount of time, we have such a profound, long-lasting effect.

What advice would you have to offer something considering perioperative nursing? 
Perioperative nursing is a remarkable career that provides ample opportunities for leadership, education, and offers a dynamic range of experiences that contribute to professional growth. Perioperative nurses work as a team and collaborate with allied healthcare professionals to foster a supportive environment for both the patient and their care team. Furthermore, innovation in this field provides exciting opportunities for continuous learning in the application of cutting-edge technology in surgery.

Cheryl Leon-Reid and Laura Robichaud
Perioperative nurses, Pre-admission Clinic
Halifax Infirmary site, QEII Health Sciences Centre

What led you to Perioperative Nursing?
We both come from backgrounds of working with post operative surgical patients in different settings, including the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), medical-surgical intensive care unit and post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). Our collective experience in these units and the opportunity to help optimize patients prior to surgery led us to the roles we have today in the Pre-Admission Clinic. We truly believe pre-operative preparation significantly impacts the patients’ overall surgical experience in a positive way.

What is most rewarding about your role?
The most rewarding part of our role is providing empathy, optimizing, educating, and supporting our patients in a positive environment so they feel confident and less anxious about their upcoming surgery. 

What advice would you have to offer something considering perioperative nursing?
Perioperative nursing is unique and rewarding, each day offers different learning opportunities which allows you to grow as a nurse! 

Megan Reid
Perioperative nurse
Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre

What led you to Perioperative Nursing?
For two years I was an emergency nurse; I really enjoyed it and was able to build a strong critical care skill set. In emergency, I would transfer patients up to the operating room and be so curious about what went on behind the red line (restricted area). I did some research and talked to perioperative nurses, and I felt like perioperative nursing would be a good fit for me to grow as a nurse and expand my skill set.

What is the most rewarding about your role?
One of the most rewarding parts of my role is creating therapeutic relationships with the patients throughout the surgical continuum. Surgery and anesthesia can be very scary and anxiety provoking for patients. Gaining the patients’ trust or creating a connection before surgery is very rewarding and can be easily done when we take time to ease their anxiety.

What advice would you have to offer someone considering perioperative nursing?
My advice for university students who are considering perioperative nursing is to gain experience and exposure while you’re still in school through course work or a perioperative clinical co-op that will help you gain an understanding of the practice. My advice for nursing graduates is to build your knowledge through medical-surgical care or critical care for a year or two before applying to perioperative nursing. This will enhance the surgical knowledge and critical thinking skills you rely on to be the best possible perioperative nurse.

Learn more about perioperative nursing:
The Nova Scotia Health Learning Institute for Health Care Providers offers the Perioperative Nursing Program (PONP) which provides registered nurses and licensed practice nurses with the advanced education and training needed to deliver this care.  

Learn more about upcoming programs:

Learn how the learning institute’s Perioperative Nursing Elective exposes fourth year nursing students to this area of nursing care.

Photos of (left-right) Perioperative nurse Jacqueline Deal, Perioperative Nurse (OR Nurse), Orthopedics; Pre-admission nurses Cheryl Leon Reid, Laura Robichaud; Perioperative nurse Megan Reid

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