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Newly Transformed Simulation Operating Room Addressing National Shortage of OR Nurses Unveiled at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway

Rahway, NJ, February 1, 2019 – On January 30, 2019, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway revealed its newly transformed simulation operating room lab with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour. The lab will offer training to the system’s new nursing hires, serving all 11 hospitals and housing its perioperative residency program to prepare new nurses and help experienced nurses make the transition to the operating room setting.

“These simulated rooms will help tremendously in the training of OR nurses and techs,” said Mary Beth Russell, PhD, MA, RN-BC, NEA-BC, Vice President, Center for Professional Development Innovation and Research Northern Region, RWJBarnabas Health. “Having a training space in a central location for the system will make a big difference in building skills and confidence.”

Alicia Jablonsky MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR, LNC, Perioperative Educator with students around an operating table in new RWJUH Rahway simulation operating room
Alicia Jablonsky, MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR, LNC, Perioperative Educator, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, explains some of the features of the programmable patient manikins used in the OR Simulation Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway. The center, which opened January 30, will help provide valuable hands-on education and training for perioperative nurses throughout the RWJBarnabas Health System.

"Operating-room nurses are vital to successfully meeting our patients' needs, and the right kind of training is key to prepare the next generation of nursing staff for OR excellence," added Kirk C. Tice, President and Chief Operating Officer of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway. "This lab will allow us to offer exceptional, hands-on learning experience to maintain a steady stream of highly skilled OR nurses not only at our hospital but across our entire network."

Tice and Russell were joined at the ribbon cutting by Ann Marie Shears RN, MA, NE-BC, Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer; Mary Koch, MSN, RN, CNOR, Coordinator of the OR Training Program; and Nancy E. Holecek, MAS, BSN, RN, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Northern Region, RWJBarnabas Health. Attendees were given a tour of the lab space, which includes two separate operating rooms, each complete with lighting, sinks, cameras, instruments, patient manikins funded by a grant and other equipment to resemble a working OR, and a conference room in which trainees will receive instruction and critiques through the connected camera.

RWJUH Rahway CEO Kirk Tice; Center for Professional Development Director Mary Koch; Center for Professional Development VP Mary Beth Russell; RWJUHR Vice President Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer Ann Marie Shears; Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Northern Region Nancy Holecek, and Larry Creech, Director of Perioperative Services at RWJUH Somerset.
RWJUH Rahway CEO Kirk Tice; Center for Professional Development Director Mary Koch; Center for Professional Development VP Mary Beth Russell; RWJUHR Vice President Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer Ann Marie Shears; Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Northern Region Nancy Holecek, and Larry Creech, Director of Perioperative Services at RWJUH Somerset.

The simulated OR is part of a multi-pronged approach to solving a national shortage of OR nurses due to eliminated OR nursing rotations in nursing schools and a lack of training facilities. Finding available OR space for training is often a challenge, but essential due to the need for OR nurses to navigate complexities and a variety of mitigating factors at any moment. RWJUH Rahway is proud to be addressing this critical issue with the OR lab and residency, furthering the system’s commitment to providing ongoing education to its staff in order to improve outcomes for patients.

About RWJBarnabas Health

RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with five million people. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, RWJUH New Brunswick, RWJUH Somerset in Somerville, RWJUH Hamilton, RWJUH Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston; three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital (Children’s Specialized Hospital) with its multiple outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and two accountable care organizations. RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 33,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns.

RWJBarnabas Health recently announced a partnership with Rutgers University to create New Jersey’s largest academic health care system. The collaboration will align RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. The alliance will result in a multi-specialty group that will be one of the largest medical groups in the country.