Currently, more than 2,500 da Vinci Systems are in operation at more than 2,000 geographically dispersed hospitals.7 The steady increase in robotic surgical programs in the United States gives nurses certified in robotic surgery a growing number of options to transfer their skills to locations that may be more desirable to their lifestyle, or move to more populated urban settings with hospitals and clinics that may offer higher rates of pay, said Van Wicklin. The arrival of more affordable robots from Titan and Medrobotics will only expand the number of hospitals and clinics that can offer opportunities to nurses certified in robotics.

In a very real way, perioperative nurses may not be given all that much of a choice but to certify in robotics. For example, Kittle said Northside’s robotics program is growing astronomically. “If nurses with robotic surgery skills come to our hospital, then great. If nurses do not have these skills, we will certainly train them.”

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With so much discussion about compassion fatigue and nurse burnout, becoming introduced to the cutting edge of robotic surgery can be invigorating and a career refresher, said Kate Lederer, senior manager of da Vinci Specialized Training at Intuitive.

“After training, the energy levels of nurses go up and any fatigue from their time in traditional surgery wears away,” she said. “And you see a ripple effect from nurse to nurse, and then ultimately to the patient. Nurses go away saying wow here is something I’m accustomed to seeing as a fully open procedure and suddenly there is this efficient operation, and my patients are happier and going home sooner.”

AORN’s Van Wicklin highly recommends that nurses look to robotic surgery as a way to keep their careers in synch with advancements in surgical technology. “It’s always good to increase your knowledge as a nurse, and robotics is a good move.” Ask LBM’s Trump about good moves and she will jokingly tell you “everyone on LBM’s robotic surgery department has mastered ‘The Robot’.”

Dan Neel is a medical writer based in San Francisco, California. 


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