Robotic surgical operating nurses are in high demand: why simulation training makes a difference

by | May 12, 2023 | All

There is a major shortage of surgical nurses in the field of robotic surgery. But how do we get more people to train in this field? And why exactly are they so popular in hospitals across the country? We asked the robotic surgical nurses themselves, who recently met from all over the country at Herlev Hospital.

The high demand for robotic surgical skills is particularly evident when it comes to surgical nurses. Because as team coordinator Louise Møller says:

"The advanced robotics facilities in hospitals have become so widespread that it can be difficult to keep up in terms of training and skills. We've noticed that more and more students are coming to us to train skills that they can use in practice."

Louise is the team coordinator at the new competence center for robotic surgical training and educational research called CAMES Robotics. The competence center, which is part of CAMES Rigshospitalet, offers best practice training programs for doctors and surgical nurses in robotics on several advanced systems.

Read more: What CAMES Robotics offers

But with her background as a robotic surgical surgical nurse, Louise is also part of a nationwide network of 46 surgical nurses who work with and coordinate robot-assisted surgery at hospitals across the country. Recently, they met at Herlev Hospital together with colleagues from all over the country to delve deeper into robotic surgical nursing - and generally just exchange experiences and gain new perspectives on their work.

110 surgical nurses gathered for presentations, workshops and exhibitions from the industry and robot manufacturers

But it's not just about practical, professional experience development from the operating rooms when they meet. It is just as much about making yourself available with a common voice with advice and guidance on what to do in the future on the education front. Because, as Louise Møller says, it's about ensuring that there will continue to be good training and continuing education opportunities in an area that is already in demand among nurses themselves - and which is in high demand in terms of competence in hospitals.

But what will it take to get more nurses on board in the robotic surgery specialty? And what to do on the education and training front? We asked some of the participants who attended the event - the robotic symposium for surgical nurses - which took place April 20-21 at Herlev Hospital. Read on as 3 surgical nurses and 1 researcher give their take.

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facilities at CAMES Robotics

Check out our robotic surgical systems

CAMES Robotics offers training and education on various robotic surgical systems. Use the arrows - and take a look at the different systems yourself via our 3D viewer. Please contact us if you have any questions about our systems - or if you want to book a tour.


Britt Fredensborg

Britt is a specialist nurse in urological robotic surgery, Department of Urological Surgery L - Odense University Hospital. She is also a member of the national experience group for surgical nurses working with robotic surgery.

What's the best thing about working with robotic-assisted surgery?

Exciting and increasingly complex procedures that are best solved in the robot, where you are close to the tissue - and can utilize the 360-degree movement of the robot's arms/ instruments.

What do you think should be done to attract more nurses to the specialty?

Make sure to invite surgical nurses to nursing schools - and thereby create more information about surgical/technical nursing. Our young people today are much more technical than we were when we were young.

What are the biggest challenges in continuing education for surgical nurses in the field? What are the solutions?

The biggest challenge is getting the Danish Health Authority to accept that surgical nurses are specialists and that an education (similar to that of a nurse anesthetist) would elevate our specialty and perhaps attract new nurses more easily.

Previously fought for this in FS OP (Ed: Professional Society of the Danish Nurses' Association)

What are the biggest benefits of the collaboration you have across the country?

The biggest benefit of our ERFA group is definitely our ability to network with nurses in the same specialty. Both in relation to daily challenges, backorders, stocking - and when new surgeries are to be implemented. And it's also about having a forum where we can help develop robotic surgery in Denmark. There is never a long way to really competent answers.


Janne Aukdal

Janne is a senior nurse at Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde. Here she works in the Central Operating Department, Anesthesiology Section. She is also a member of the national experience group for surgical nurses working with robotic surgery.

What's the best thing about working with robotic-assisted surgery?

In terms of competence, robot-assisted surgery has just stepped over the lap. scopic surgeries we are used to having. It challenges us - in a good way - as nurses in many more areas. And it's satisfying to be part of the robotic surgical team on the ward.

What do you think should be done to attract more nurses to the specialty?

At SUH (Sjællandske Universitetshospital), we have no problems attracting people to the robotics specialty. I think it has something to do with the fact that it is also seen as something special - and at the same time provides an extra boost in terms of competence. We put a lot of effort into training employees. I think that also makes the specialty appreciated.

What are the biggest challenges in continuing education for surgical nurses in the field? What are the solutions?

If I could wish, I would like to have a further education for robotic nurses that was recognized as a further education on an equal footing with others. Today, as a department, we have a training program that starts in our own department and continues at Cames. The nurses are very satisfied with this. It is difficult to get recognition for further training as a nurse - even the surgical nurse training is not yet recognized. I think that's the key to attracting nurses to more surgical wards. I was trained in my own department as a team and then sent to Strasbourg - also as a team. I finished with certification as e-learning. But today, I would definitely have preferred to have a recognized education.

What are the biggest benefits of the collaboration you have across the country?

It is a huge plus - and an advantage for the rapid development in the field and within the specialty - that we can share advantages and disadvantages across regions. New departments can make use of each other's procedures and spar with each other. When robotic nurses meet, they talk about camps, teamwork, instruments/robot, development and education. This is where we have a forum that is indispensable. I think this is one of the reasons why all departments with a robot specialty work as well as they do. No one is alone in facing the challenges that may arise.


Lotte Juul Hansen

Lotte is a senior nurse/operative nurse at Aalborg University Hospital. More specifically, she works in the urology department. She is also a member of the national experience group for surgical nurses working with robotic surgery.

What's the best thing about working with robotic-assisted surgery?

The best part is the teamwork. It's impossible to do this without everyone working together. Then it's also highly specialized and requires specialized knowledge. In addition, of course, to the great benefits for the patient.

What do you think should be done to attract more nurses to the specialty?

Most departments that work with robotic surgery also perform a wide range of other procedures in the traditional way. It's not just robotic surgery as a specialty. But it's definitely an advantage that the department has it, I think. There's a bit of prestige in it.

What are the biggest challenges in continuing education for surgical nurses in the field? What are the solutions?

There is generally not enough time for training on a day-to-day basis. It should be a requirement to attend a course such as Cames or Aalborg before working with it on a day-to-day basis. I've been involved from the start, so there was no course. But I was trained by Intuitiv (ed: Robotic surgery manufacturer) in Stockholm. Since then, I've been on a course in Strasbourg with Intuitiv.

What are the biggest benefits of the collaboration you have across the country?

It's incredibly inspiring to meet each other. It's knowledge sharing and experience sharing.

We can set some overall standards for training, for example. Currently, there is a group creating competency maps.


Peter Hertz

Peter Hertz is a researcher at CAMES Research and focuses on the development of simulation-based training in robot-assisted surgery, including advanced procedures assessed in a simulation-based environment. Read researcher profile and see current research project

Your research focuses on robotic surgical simulation training of advanced producers: What was your main message at the symposium?

 At the symposium, I described the historical development of surgery, how surgeons learned the profession before robots and laparoscopy. I described the educational challenges that exist today and how we at CAMES have tried to solve them. One solution is training on patient models, which we have created with the help of patient scans and 3D printing.

I talked about a previous study that several of the symposium participants have contributed to. The study was conducted by my colleague Louise Møller and the purpose was to identify learning objectives for nurses in the robotic operating room. Furthermore, I described a current study where we have created a model where the patient is about to undergo surgery for colon cancer. We are investigating different ways to assess the quality of the surgery performed and the reliability of these assessments.

What does robot-assisted simulation training do?

My projects have taken me around Europe to collaborate and generate data from simulation training. Everywhere I've been, our colleagues have been very engaged and have seen the need and potential.

What do your research findings show?

In the research group, we have conducted two studies on learning objectives for staff around the surgical robot, with great support from all relevant departments in Denmark. For the advanced simulation training, we have created a patient model for training and competence assessment of colon surgery. We expect to have the results ready this summer.

What is the potential of better education in this area? For staff, patients, patient safety and healthcare in general?

There are no players at FC Barcelona who only play matches. Everyone trains individually and together as a team. Patient safety is of course the biggest reason to practice, but I think the working environment and the utilization of resources (shift times etc.) could also be positively affected.

I only work in a small corner of the field that is being asked about here. But my projects are about evidence-based robotic surgical training for surgeons, so that resources can be used optimally - and at the same time we achieve higher patient safety.


Visit CAMES Robotics

Take a tour of the robotic surgical "operating room"

Together with CAMES Engineering, CAMES Robotics develops 3D models in artificial material, which are typically used in procedure-specific robotic surgery courses. Here, students are trained repetitively in, for example, anastomoses (sutures) where live tissue is not necessary. In the video, you can see elements of a training course on two robotic surgical systems that CAMES Robotics offers training on.

(Cutting and stitching on silicone model of stricture at transition between renal pelvis and ureter).


Contact CAMES Robotics

Jan Viberg, Development and Project Manager, CAMES Robotics - 60247951 / Read bio.
Louise Møller, Course Manager, CAMES Robotics - 40479868 / Read bio.
Ditte Camillus, Course Director, CAMES Robotics - 5177 7209 /

Snapshots from the Robotic Surgery Symposium 2023

See mood photos

Click through the arrows and get some snapshots from the event.

Facts and figures

About the event and robotic surgery in general

  • On April 20-21, 2023, Herlev Hospital hosted the 4th national symposium for surgical nurses working with robotic surgery.
  • Robotic surgery was introduced at Herlev Hospital in 2008 and has since evolved to help many patients through major surgeries via minimally invasive surgery every day.
  • In 2022, robotic surgery number 10,000 was reached at Herlev Hospital, divided between the three specialties of urology, gynecology and gastrointestinal surgery.
  • The symposium at Herlev offered a versatile program with a focus on robotic perioperative nursing. Including related interdisciplinary presentations, the latest developments and a couple of presentations that would put completely different perspectives on robot-assisted surgery.
  • The symposium was planned in close collaboration between Ulla Grande and Charlotte Holck Larsen, surgical nurses and robot coordinators, Anesthesiology Dept. I at Herlev Hospital and Ditte Camillus and Louise Møller, who are course leader and team coordinator at CAMES Robotics, respectively.