Spring graduate Chelsea-Lynn Barrett says starting her career as a perioperative/operating room (OR) nurse is “just the coolest.”
“It’s a dream come true,” said Ms. Barrett, who will collect a bachelor of science in nursing degree during the morning session of convocation on Friday, June 3, at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s.
This past winter, she was offered a position at St. Clare’s Hospital upon completion of her program in the Faculty of Nursing.
“There is always something different happening in the OR, and you’re always seeing something new,” said Ms. Barrett, who is from Bishop’s Cove, N.L. “Anything can change on a dime.”
‘Fell in love’
Ms. Barrett set her sights on becoming an OR nurse early in her second year of her program.
It was after a day spent shadowing a team of OR nurses in the Health Sciences Centre during a group clinical rotation that she knew she’d found her niche.
“I just fell in love with it right from the start,” she said. “Once I saw the role of the nursing team in the OR, and how much they work together for their patients, each with their own role, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. It’s something about that team environment I really love.”
From her second year onward several of her clinical placements were on surgical wards, where she was occasionally able to shadow OR nurses.
“I know I’m prepared after all that I’ve learned in nursing school.”
Then, in her final year, she connected with Eastern Health operating room managers and recruitment staff to let them know she was keen to work in the OR after finishing her degree.
Perioperative nursing is highly specialized, and under the guidance of a preceptor, she’ll receive lots of extra training.
Ms. Barrett will do clinical rotations through all seven ORs at St. Clare’s, and write a number of exams before she’s able to practise on her own. She is expecting a busy summer season.
“But I know I can do it. I know I’m prepared after all that I’ve learned in nursing school.”
As a graduate nurse this spring, she had the opportunity to watch a complex 7.5-hour surgery, where the OR team had to quickly shift gears and tools half-way through the operation.
“They were like a well-oiled machine,” she said. “Everyone works together and everyone has a role.”
For Ms. Barrett, it’s also satisfying to know that she’s needed, and her skills are in demand.
“It’s a good feeling. I know I’m an extra pair of helping hands and that’s good.”