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Melissa Romeo, BSN, RN

The People You'll
Meet at OR Excellence

Melissa Romeo, BSN, RN, the director of nursing at Atlanticare Surgery Center of Ocean County in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., can't wait to return to OR Excellence, where she's planning on doing plenty of learning and having plenty of fun. Register today to join Ms. Romeo and other top surgical leaders at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas.

Why she's returning to ORX. I went to OR Excellence with my husband the last time it was in Las Vegas. The conference is always fantastic — it's one of best meetings of the year for surgical leaders. The speakers are top-notch and I always return to work with practical tips that I can implement immediately. This time I'm going to learn about adding an outpatient total joints program, because our health system is in the process of building a fourth surgery center that will be dedicated to same-day joint procedures. The pre-conference joints workshop is something I'm really looking forward to attending.

The challenges she's currently facing. There are a couple. We're trying to improve practices related to having instructions for use available for every instrument during reprocessing. That requires holding everyone on the staff accountable and engaged. We're also facing a nursing shortage. The average OR nurse is our area is 60 years old, so soon there will be few experienced nurses left to train the next generation. We're looking into partnering with local nursing schools to develop a perioperative training program at our facilities. We'll give nursing students a sense of what it's like to work in the OR, and then we'll be able to pick from among the top performers when making new hires.

On why she loves the Red Rock Resort. The entire place is amazing — I was excited for it to return to the rotation. It's a beautiful hotel, the rooms are great and the surrounding scenery is stunning. My husband had a fantastic time, too. He went to the Strip to check out the scene during the day, but we found ourselves right back at the Red Rock to unwind at night. All of the restaurants in the place are excellent — the Yard House was one of our favorite spots. We had a blast the entire time.

On what makes OR Excellence unique. The connections you make with other surgical leaders from across the country make the conference worthwhile. There's a group of regular attendees who I've met and we email each other all the time. One of the girls asked for a policy template, and I immediately emailed her our facility's version. A few weeks later, she sent me a gift basket as a thank you. OR Excellence attendees are a nice group of people and everyone's very friendly and willing to share their experiences. Since attending the conference, I've developed a network of friends who I can ask for advice or help throughout the year. That's been great.

You are going to LOVE this meeting!

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