“In the operating room you never stop learning,” says Anne Gniewek, Clinical Leader of Development, Pediatric Operating Room (OR). “With ten surgical services in the IWK pediatric OR, there is a wide variety of work which is always interesting and stimulating.”
Since graduating with a nursing degree from Dalhousie in 1982, Gniewek has had a variety of roles from a nurse in the IWK pediatric intensive care unit to a health educator with Shoppers Drug Mart. The pediatric OR at the IWK has been her focus since 2009 where she is currently a Clinical Leader of Development (CLD).
As CLD, Gniewek administers the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) program, a six-week course that orients nurses new to the perioperative field.
“I am passionate about perioperative nursing so it’s fulfilling to teach new staff to ignite that passion in them,” says Gniewek. “I enjoy teaching the foundation of perioperative nursing, building on it, and watching the learners grow.”
Perioperative nurses work as part of the operative team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and anesthesia assistants, and are responsible for the safety, planning, and advocacy of the patients having surgery. They collaborate with the surgical team during the three phases of perioperative care: before, during, and after surgeries and procedures requiring sedations and/or general anesthesia. They are skilled at building rapport with patients and families and working effectively with a wide range of physicians, health care providers, nurses, and support staff.
Since May of this year, nine newly hired staff have enrolled in the AORN program with four graduating this past October and five to graduate early in the new year. Having the perioperative program and learning centre onsite at IWK means new hires can enroll immediately, expediting the transition from new staff to fully functioning team member. A newly hired nurse with no previous OR experience can be working independently in 18 weeks. The program expects to welcome eight to ten new staff in the new year.
For Gniewek it is a team effort.
“We have a very supportive staff and everyone contributes to the orientation of new staff,” she says. “We work as a team, drawing from each other’s strengths.”
This Perioperative Nurses Week we recognize and celebrate the vital and important patient-centred care delivered by perioperative nurses here at IWK Health.