Orbis International announced the publication of the Orbis Ophthalmic Nursing Competency Assessment Rubric (ONCAR) for scrub nurses and technicians in Insight, the American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses’ peer-reviewed clinical journal. The ONCAR is the first published tool of its kind for ophthalmic nurse training.
The new tool fills a critical gap by providing a gold standard from which to assess early career ophthalmic scrub nurses’ readiness for the operating room and outlining the specific skills nurses must demonstrate to progress from novicehood to competency during training, according to Orbis. The ONCAR covers 19 core competencies, including equipment set-up, presurgical handwashing, setting up a sterile field, handling of sharp equipment, prepping the operating room, proper care of sutures and steps to safely wrap up the operation. The rubric was modeled after the International Council of Ophthalmology’s Ophthalmology Surgical Competency Assessment Rubric (ICO-OSCAR), the accepted standardized rubric for both teaching and assessing the surgical skills of ophthalmologists-in-training.
“It is our hope that the ONCAR is adopted globally in the training of ophthalmic scrub nurses and technicians,” Angela Purcell, RN, coauthor of the ONCAR and Head Nurse of Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital, said in the news release. “Evidence shows that well-trained ophthalmic scrub nurses play a critical role not just in preventing complications during surgery, but also in ensuring positive outcomes for patients overall. These nurses are often patients’ first line of contact for understanding the procedure they are about to undergo as well as follow-up care.”
Released during the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse, the paper underscores Orbis’s commitment to training every member of the eye care team–not only ophthalmologists, but also nurses, anesthesiologists and biomedical engineers. Empowering and supporting all local practitioners is critical for ensuring that patients get the best possible care and a meaningful step in democratizing and strengthening eye care systems.
Even though Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital has been temporarily grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Orbis’s staff nurses continue to contribute to the field with peer-reviewed publications like the ONCAR, conducting virtual trainings for nurses, and developing new courses to be offered when in-person training can safely resume.
Moving forward, Orbis plans to conduct additional research to measure outcomes of using the ONCAR in training. Orbis also plans to create rubrics for other sub-specialties of nursing, such as sterilization and circulating nursing.