The role of the operating theatre nurse

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Published: 15 Jul 2013
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Dr Danuta Lichosik - European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy

Dr Danuta Lichosik talks to ecancer at MBCC 15 about the important role of the operating theatre nurse and the new technologies in the field.

This multi-discipline role requires a large amount of training in a wide range of fields, including robotic surgery. 

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15th Milan Breast Cancer Conference

The role of the operating theatre nurse

Dr Danuta Lichosik - European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy

The operating theatre nurse is playing a very important role in new technologies, of course, which one we are applying in our daily activity. Especially in robotic surgery which one is teamwork discipline, that’s why the nurses have to be very well trained in open surgery but above that they have to build their experience and, of course, supported by knowledge about technology.

Do you need special training to become a robotic surgery nurse?

Yes, nurses have to be trained; we started our activity in robotic surgery since 2006. Our staff was trained in several important robotic centres, like in America in the urology department of Professor Patel; for gynae we were trained in Phoenix in the unit of Professor McGreen and other places as well.

What takes place during the surgery for nurses?

As I mentioned, robotic surgery is teamwork. As nurses we are providing facilities for the surgical  … and safety for the patient undergoing the robotic procedure. In the operating theatre normally we have three nurses: one nurse expert in robotic surgery and two circulating nurses. At the moment, since we are facing a little bit of an economical problem and a shortage of staff, of course, we involve also a support figure, support for the nurses, then we have only one nurse and one supporter which is a helper trained in robotic surgery as well.

Will this nurse cover all fields?

Yes, in our institute we perform robotic surgery in five different specialities: abdominal pelvic surgery, urology, gynae, thoracic surgery and head and neck. We are specialised in all as nurses, either … nurses, either circulating nurses. Then we can cover the necessity of surgery without any problem.

Could you discuss how you help educate nurses outside of your institute?

Yes, since we opened activity in 2006 and we were trained in some robotic centres we decided to activate also in our institute, through the EIO education department, a school of robotic surgery which I have the pleasure to be the nurse co-ordinator. We are providing courses in our institute combined with live surgery. During these courses we are connected also with a famous robotic centre in America and we are also participating in courses and proctoring outside of the institute. We have an agreement with Romania, with Cluj-Napoca University,there some of our urologists are giving a lecture in Cluj-Napoca University. Also as a nurse we are giving a lecture during courses yearly organised by the university. I have a contact also with the Polish Association of Robotic Surgery and I am involved also in courses organised in Poland. Some of our nurses are going to Bulgaria and we have a contact in each European country. I have been invited last year twice to Dubrovnik by the Croatian Association of Oncology Nurses which was a dedicated session for oncology surgery.