Hospital procedures are impacted by Covid-19. Find out more here.

Hospital procedures are impacted by Covid-19. Find out more here.

New Zealand first in theatre training

Pictured left to right from Southern Cross Auckland Surgical Centre: Tracy (Theatre Services Manager) with Brooke, Brittany and Celia, all new Theatre Nurses who recently completed Southern Cross Healthcare's new operating theatre training programme.

To strengthen and futureproof its workforce, Southern Cross Healthcare has increased its investment in training, development and learning systems for nurses, including the introduction of a new operating theatre training program, Periop 101.

Southern Cross Healthcare’s Chief Nursing Officer Monica Goldwater said AORN’s Periop 101 programme is the gold standard in new-to-theatre nursing education internationally which is why the organisation selected it.

“Periop 101 is specifically designed to help train nurses new to operating theatres across the perioperative setting, not only does it cover all aspects of theatre nurse training, but it supports educators to deliver a robust and thorough programme. Our team has also expanded clinical practicum in a lab-based setting enabling nurses to practice their skills for orthopaedic and laparoscopic surgeries in a safe and supportive environment,” said Goldwater.

The first cohort of Southern Cross Healthcare nurses have successfully completed the 12-week training programme and comprehensive exam, with many more in training and eager to take part.

Feedback from nurses at Southern Cross Healthcare’s wholly owned Auckland Surgical Centre is incredibly positive.

“Our nurses who have completed Periop 101 are saying how effective they found the programme, they especially liked the mix of theory with hands-on experience in the lab.”

Goldwater, a registered nurse herself, said Southern Cross Healthcare is acutely aware of the pivotal role nurses hold in healthcare in Aotearoa, as well as the challenges the whole sector faces in attracting and retaining a skilled nursing and clinical workforce.

“We are fortunate to have so many skilled and hardworking nurses at our Southern Cross hospitals across Aotearoa and we need to make sure, especially now as we compete in international and domestic markets for staff, that we keep our nurses and attract new team members,” said Goldwater.

“Our investment in our nursing team’s development with initiatives such as Periop 101 and partnerships with key suppliers is as much about our future workforce as it is today’s.”

Southern Cross Healthcare is the first organisation in New Zealand to implement the Periop 101 programme and has done so across all 10 wholly owned Southern Cross hospitals. But Goldwater is clear that investing in clinical development doesn’t stop there.

“Southern Cross Healthcare also offer significant financial support annually to nursing and clinical team members for tertiary education, in addition to on-the-job training. We’re excited to increase our annual post graduate training budget including for digital health informatics, nurse practitioners, clinical education, advance nursing, public policy, health sciences, leadership, and management,” said Goldwater.

“What’s more, our tertiary education investment is now split into two easily managed annual cycles to make it easier for staff to apply and take further education to expand their skill set and knowledge.”

In addition, a new Learning Management System being implemented to streamline education and learning, making it easier for nurses to access content and to set up and track professional development plans. Goldwater said Southern Cross hospital educators are excited about spending less time managing paperwork and more time providing in person return demonstrations, education, and competency assessments.

“Clinical training is ongoing and always evolving, so ensuring our teams have the best in educational offerings provides great patient outcomes and specialist satisfaction,” said Goldwater.

“Our increased investment in multiple aspects of training demonstrates Southern Cross Healthcare’s commitment to the ongoing development and support of its staff to be their best. We’re enhancing workforce capabilities and the delivery of excellent patient care.”