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Hartnell College Helps to Meet Shortage of Operating Room Nurses in Central California

October 31st, 2003

A new Hartnell College program is helping to meet the shortage of operating room nurses in Central California.

The Regional Health Occupations Resource Center (RHORC), located at Hartnell, is training operating room nurses, also known as perioperative nurses, via video conferencing from Hartnell to Bakersfield Community College, College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, and Modesto Junior College. Hartnell students attend the live presentations on campus.

The program's second class of 27 students is expected to graduate in December.

"Most persons enrolled in our program," said RHORC Director Kathleen Schrader, "are Registered Nurses who are interested in becoming operating room nurses." Noting that Nov. 9-15 is National Perioperative Nurses Week, she said operating room nurses care for patients before, during and immediately after surgery.

Lectures are based on the national guidelines of the Association of Perioperative Nurses.

Students attend labs at their local colleges, allowing them to practice hands-on skills needed for the operating room. Many of the RNs enrolled in the program also receive practical operating room experience at their place of employment. Clinical practice opportunities are provided by Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, Mee Memorial Hospital in King City, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and surgery centers in Salinas and Monterey.

The program, underwritten by a $700,000 grant from the California Community College Chancellor's Office, takes a semester to complete.

The next class will begin Jan. 27, 2004.

For more information, contact program manager/instructor Frances Bullman, also an operating room nurse at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, at (831) 770-6103 or (831) 755-6916.