Evaluation of two approaches to perioperative nursing inservice education in the hospital setting

Maryann Papanier Wells, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of this study was to examine the length of the orientation component of inservice education necessary for perioperative nurses in a hospital setting to learn to provide safe, efficient, quality patient care. The study is exploratory in nature. Many nurses feel that the performance levels of basic perioperative nursing behaviors are comparable for both three month and six month hospital inservice programs. My hypothesis examined this premise. To date, no critical comparisons have been done to evaluate the effectiveness of perioperative orientation programs of varying lengths. Such an evaluative comparison becomes increasingly important to the nursing and hospital community when examining the cost/benefit ratio as it relates to the delivery of quality patient care in a cost effective manner. This study examined selected performance outcomes of two types of programs. The performance outcomes were competency based and designed to reflect the professional nurses' knowledge, skill, and technical abilities in the perioperative setting. Sixty-four subjects from both three-month and six-month perioperative orientation programs were evaluated with a specially designed observation instrument. Subjects were baccalaureate prepared registered nurses who were employed in the operating rooms of 6 different hospitals within the United States. The subjects for this study were observed within the first 2 weeks after completing the orientation program. Differences in competency were identified between the two orientation programs of varying lengths. Results from the six month program showed that the perfect compliance rate of nurses was higher than those completing the three month program. The results indicate that there are differences in the level of performance in surgical room activities. Perfect compliance (i.e. 100%) is more prevalent in graduates of the six month programs. Graduates of the three month programs were more variable in their compliance rates. The rate for overall compliance for the three month program was 95% while the rate of compliance for the six month program was 97%. The 2% difference is not statistically significant. Given this result, it is difficult to justify the 50% increase in training costs.

Subject Area

Nursing|Health education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Wells, Maryann Papanier, "Evaluation of two approaches to perioperative nursing inservice education in the hospital setting" (1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9830014.