SCA Health Periop 101 Program: A Q&A with Kelly Kapp

Posted Mar 7, 2024 under:

Expanding Skills

SCA Health is proud to offer educational programs to our nurses interested in learning the skills needed to perform in the OR.

Continuing Education

Hear from SCA Health Clinical Education Director, Kelly Kapp, on our Periop 101 Program in this Q&A style-interview.

The SCA Health Periop 101 Program allows SCA Health-employed nurses to gain valuable skills and knowledge that result in the ability to perform circulating nurse duties in the Operating Room. SCA Health Clinical Education Director Kelly Kapp provided insight into the program, its objectives, and how it uniquely positions SCA Health in the surgical care environment.

Answers provided by Kelly Kapp are labeled KK. Some answers have been abbreviated.

Q: What was the original idea behind adopting the AORN Periop 101 Program content and adding enhancements to offer a comprehensive OR training program for SCA Health-employed nurses?

KK: “ASCs are experiencing nursing shortages that put a strain on staffing. They are also navigating recruitment and retention challenges, leading to increased use of contract labor, which can impact availability of skilled OR nurses. Our ASC leaders engaged an interdisciplinary team to design a perioperative OR nurse training program. SCA Health’s Periop 101 Program is a blended program comprised of AORN Periop 101 online modules, weekly class discussions, and skills development with preceptors. Organization-specific education was also added to the program to meet our needs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ASCs were forced to rethink training and staffing strategies. SCA Health took this opportunity to develop a virtual program and offer it as a resource for ASC leaders to provide OR training to employed SCA Health nurses. The program shifted from in-person learning to a VIRTUAL plan. The team was intentional and maintained the quality of the program and education and training of nurses continued. To date, 267 nurses have graduated from our program. Training SCA Health nurses to circulate in the Operating Room has reduced contract labor use in facilities who have participated and prepared nurses to provide outstanding, safe surgical care to patients. The program has provided us with a way to deepen our OR bench, reduce the risk of patient safety events, and reduce contract nurse dependency.”

SCA Health Clinical Education Director, Kelly Kapp, RN, CNOR, CNAMB

Q: What makes SCA Health’s Periop 101 Program unique?

KK: At SCA Health, our Periop 101 Program takes a holistic approach in the development of OR nurses. Our program is supplemented with classroom time and training in the OR that builds on what nurses are learning through the AORN Periop 101 modules. Added content includes real-life story sharing of OR experiences and our company-wide patient safety initiatives to prevent patient harm. We focus on the why” behind best practices and highlight SCA Health’s clinical non-negotiables. Learning gaps are closed for our nurses, who are empowered to speak up and advocate for patient safety and for themselves. The program also supports specific clinical and patient needs of each ASC, which differentiates the SCA Health Periop 101 program from the basic module content.

The program was developed intentionally to meet the needs of a novice, or on-the-job trained OR nurse, designed specifically to focus on and enhance patient safety. The class is led by experienced OR nurses. Each week, we have scheduled in-services, where we lean on senior clinical teammates and leverages external vendor specialists. Our program is customized to the SCA Health culture and covers what happens in our ORs—the specialties, procedures, interactions, and technology that our nurses encounter daily.

Q: How do you believe offering this course sets SCA Health apart within the ASC industry?

KK: The intent behind SCA Health’s Periop 101 Program is to develop the highest quality OR nurses amongst all healthcare settings. It starts at the top with executive leaders. SCA Health leaders have invested in a path that enabled us to build and implement a differentiated program, grow the team to meet the need, and provide education to our frontline staff nurses.  We have also created a parallel program to provide education to our clinical leaders who oversee all clinical care and outcomes who do not have OR training or experience. At SCA Health, patient safety is a priority. I believe the difference lies in us providing nurses with sound education utilizing the AORN Periop 101 curriculum, experienced OR nurse educators, strong preceptors, and a safe place in our ASCs to develop skills. When an SCA Health nurse is in the Periop 101 Program, the entire facility is in the program, demonstrating our first core value of Clinical Quality.  

Through this program, SCA Health nurses can fulfill our clinical vision of striving to be the safest place in America to have surgery. Our goal in SCA Health’s Periop 101 Program is to develop safe, competent, and knowledgeable OR nurses.

Q: What are some examples of the skills SCA Health nurses learn through this program?

KK: Our program focuses on several vital clinical skills designed to minimize risk of harm to patients. One critical skill developed is learning how and feeling empowered to speak up and advocate for patient safety. Thorough handoff communication is emphasized for continuity of care. Nurses are taught how to prevent wrong surgery events, by understanding surgical site markings, procedure verification and validation, and performing thorough surgical and procedural timeouts. They also learn how to prevent fires and burns by understanding and performing fire risk assessments, RSI (retained surgical item), infection prevention, safe medication practices, and other essential clinical OR skills necessary to work safely in the OR.

If you are a nurse and are interested in joining SCA Health, please contact our Talent Acquisition team at

SCA Health-employed nurses interested in participating in the course should email Kelly Kapp at or Elise Eidson at

Want to learn more about SCA Health’s Periop 101 Program? Click the link below.

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