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National Perioperative Nurses Week recognized

By Staff
NATIONAL PERIOPERATIVE NURSES WEEK Perioperative nurses in Meridian include: Front row from left, Beth Strickland, Lori McMullen, Lori Booker, and Frannie Parker; second row, Kim Eldridge and Melinda Broadhead; and third row, Kenny Richardson and Frankie Hodges. All are registered nurse first assistants. Strickland, McMullen, and Lisa Wright and Judy Deweese, not pictured, are certified registered nurse first assistants. Photo by Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Nov. 13, 2002
Meridian is well represented by a specialized type of nursing with which few people outside the medical community are familiar.
Of the 49 registered nurse first assistants statewide, 10 are in Meridian. And all are being honored this week during National Perioperative Nurses Week, recognized each November since 1979.
The perioperative nursing practice is made up of professional registered nurses who assist patients and surgeons before, during and after surgery.
One local registered nurse first assistant, Frankie Hodges, said perioperative nurses are using this week to make themselves known.
Experienced registered nurses become registered nurse first assistants through a program that includes one academic year of classroom and supervised clinical training offered at many colleges.
To be accepted in a program, the registered nurse must have at least two years professional nursing experience in an operating room and either be designated as a certified nurse in an operating room or have an advanced practice degree.
Certification as a registered nurse first assistant can be achieved after passing a nationally recognized exam.
The perioperative nursing field is in growing demand, according to Hodges and Frannie Parker, another registered nurse first assistant who works locally.
Registered nurse first assistants are used in hospitals, ambulatory care establishments and in physician's practices. They often work independently in the health care profession.
Hodges said all of the perioperative nurses in Meridian are Allied Health Care providers who have privileges at each of the local hospitals.
Here are some of the responsibilities of perioperative nurses:
Before surgery
Interview patient for comprehensive health history.
Perform physical assessment of the patient.
Educate patient about the procedure and offer emotional support.
Evaluate special needs of patient and surgical team.
During surgery
Assist anesthesiologist.
Assist with patient positioning, skin preparation and draping.
Handle tissue and help expose areas surgeon must work on.
Assist with the use of surgical instruments.
Control blood loss.
Suture tissue.
After surgery
Assist getting patient to recovery room.
Communicate with health care staff and family members about the patient.
Evaluate patient's condition.
Assist in discharge of patient and postoperative teaching.