Nichole Sullenberger Shares Experience Working in an Operating Room

In the midst of COVID-19, one Kent State student shares her internship experience working at the Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital. Nichole Sullenberger (She/Her) is a current senior Honors College student in the Nursing program at Kent State. Through her program, she has the opportunity to work hands-on in her field of study and was able to fulfill that experience this past summer of 2021. 

Nichole Sullenberger posing in her nursing scrubs

From mid-May to late July in 2021, Nichole got to experience life in an operating room (OR) at Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital in Avon, Ohio. Working in an OR allowed her a new experience in the field, explaining that she, “Wanted to pursue an internship mainly for the opportunity to further enhance my nursing skills. I also wanted to pursue the internship I applied for because it offered the opportunity to work one-on-one with a nurse preceptor while still using one day a week for either a more focused workshop on topics such as urgent and emergent care or an experience day on a different unit we (students) were interested in seeing.”

With Cleveland Clinic having many different locations, Nichole explained why she applied where she did, “It is a great hospital system and I had also been working there as a nurse assistant for about a year at the time. I chose the OR as my specialty for this internship because I was considering working in the OR after graduation and had little to no experience working in that environment. I wanted to make sure it was something I would enjoy long term.” Applying what she knows to her Kent State experience, she stated that it, “Gave me more confidence that I made the right choice for my major. Many of the topics/experiences from this internship have been applicable to my nursing courses, as well.”

The medical field is time consuming and is a lot to take on, but Nichole had a good support system with her throughout her journey. She claimed that, “ My family was a big help during my internship journey. When I first started in the OR, I would come home frustrated because I still wasn't familiar with the environment and I didn't always know what I could do to help. My family was always there to remind me that you won't become an expert overnight and that I would grow more comfortable in the position as time went on.”

Nichole Sullenberger posing in her operating scrubs
Outside of her support system, she had great co-workers that assisted her during her experience. COVID-19 made an impact on her experience as well, especially in terms of the medical field that she was specializing in. Explaining her experience, Nichole said, “Being in a healthcare environment, it is not surprising that the pandemic affected my internship experience. The hospital I was at required a mask and protective eyewear in all clinical areas. In addition to wearing a mask, protective eyewear and gloves were often required, along with social distancing at workshop days. This particular internship was cut short the year before due to the pandemic, so I am thankful I had the opportunity to make it to the end of the internship.”

At the end of it all, she was still able to reflect on her journey and share a couple takeaways, stating that, “I have a better understanding of what the surgical patient goes through before arriving in the nursing unit after surgery. A big focus for surgical patients is often pain, and I can see why that is the case after watching what they do during these surgeries. Another thing I will take away from this experience is that it takes time learning how to function in an unfamiliar environment and that's okay.”




PHOTO CAPTION 1: Kent State Library

PHOTO CAPTION 2: Nichole Sullenberger posing in her nursing scrubs

PHOTO CAPTION 3: Nichole Sullenberger posing in her operating scrubs


Media Contact: Stephanie Moskal,, 330-672-2312

POSTED: Wednesday, April 6, 2022 04:40 PM
UPDATED: Sunday, July 21, 2024 07:19 PM