Responding to the shortage of nurses in California, in October Governor Grey Davis authorized $4 million for expanding seats in nursing programs and $1 million to train licensed nursing specialists, The latter was divided between the state's ten Regional Health Occupations Resource Centers (RHORC), one of which is housed at Hartnell College.
Hartnell's Director of the Central RHORC Colly Tettelbach, did a needs assessment of the central region, which is comprised of 14 community colleges serving many hospitals in Central California. "The large unmet need was for perioperative nurses who function in the operating rooms of hospitals and surgical centers. These are registered nurses who, after receiving additional work in and around hospital operating rooms providing critical support before, during and after surgical procedures. A chronic shortage of perioperaative nurses is causing problems for the healthcare industry in service delivery, productivity, patient care and access to health services by the region's population," she concluded.
A large region-wide training program has been funded by the California Community College Chancellor's office, in collaboration with local community colleges and over 20 hospitals throughout Central California. A $700,000 grant was matched with over $1.4 million contributed by local hospitals, to provide training to over 200 nurses over the next two years.
The class lectures will originate at Hartnell College and will use videoconferencing to the three other colleges and one hospital. Each college will offer skills training at their own location and local hospitals will offer clinical experience. The four colleges in this program are Hartnell College, Modesto Jr. College, Bakersfield College, College of the Sequoias in Visalia and the Children's Hospital of Central California in Madera..
Frances Bullman, a master's prepared, certified operating room nurse, is the project manager for the program. Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System donates her services and they are providing training sites for the preceptors and the hands on skills labs. Hospitals in the central valley are willing to pay for the training of their hospital preceptors and provide sites for skill labs in their areas.
Each site will be facilitated by a clinical education coordinator, "These are expert perioperative nurses that will also present hands on skill labs at each of the college sites," Tettelbach said. "The students will learn the basics of perioperative nursing including aseptic technique, gowning and gloving. The emphasis is on safety in the operating room."
The first class begins on Monday, March 31st. The class will be offered four times during the next two years. For further information call the Regional Health Occupation Resource Center at Hartnell College, at (831) 755-6916.