In 2023, Manitoba introduced a new role to operating theatres and procedure rooms, adding Operating Room Assistants (ORAs) to many of the teams responsible for the safe and effective delivery of surgical and procedural care across the province.

With ORAs now working in facilities and programs across Manitoba, the program is enjoying real success, supporting additional cases and improved efficiency while maintaining a very high standard of care.

We checked in with teams at a number of facilities across Manitoba to ask how the ORAs are contributing to the delivery of care. Here’s what we heard from some of their teams/co-workers.

Selkirk – Operating Room Assistants Kamila and Kerri.

“We have two ORAs working full-time at our site, one assigned to Endoscopy and the other to the operating room.

On the Endoscopy side, our ORA is helping pull and assemble our scopes, escorting patients, and helping in medical device reprocessing if things get backed up. They also support with room turnovers and at the end of each day make sure to input patient names and information into the system for the next day.

Within the operating room, our ORA damp dusts and sets up the room, making sure the most current slate matches the cases selected for that day. They help the circulating nurse with anything they need during the case, running for emergency blood, assisting with positioning, opening sterile packages, or grabbing extras supplies as they are needed.

We are very grateful for the ORAs who have joined our program. Our ORAs have been a huge value, offering technical support with equipment and supplies to expedite startup and shutdown of theatres, and helping with room turnovers, equipment and supply checks.

It’s clear these new members of our teams take great pride in their role, are eager and willing to take on new tasks within their scope and training.

Surgical Services Educator – Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority

Manager, Health Service OR/Regional MDR/Regional Endoscopy – Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority

Grace General Hospital – “The Mikes”

The ORAs at the Grace have been an incredible addition to our team.  They anticipate our needs and have applied their skills to help us become more efficient while still providing high quality patient care. 

They are often one step ahead of us having equipment ready, assisting with position changes, abdominal pressures and always seem to be at the right place at the exactly right time during endoscopic procedures! 

They are always willing to help in whatever capacity they are needed.  The Mikes (Mike and Mike) are an integral part of the endoscopy team here at the Grace. It’s difficult to imagine how we functioned without them!

Clinical Resource Nurse, Endoscopy, Grace General Hospital

Our ORA team of Mike and Mike have been such a welcome addition to our operating room! When the ENDO suites can spare them, our ORA team of Mike and Mike brings their skills to help us in the Grace OR. They are a welcome addition to our operating room, allowing the theatres to maintain seamless transitions between cases. This hard-working duo can be counted on to jump in and lend a hand in any service, whenever needed. We are truly fortunate to have them on our team!

Peri-Operative Educator, Grace General Hospital

Health Sciences Centre – “Rock Star” Additions to Endoscopy Services

HSC OR's posed for a picture. L-R
Christina Murta, Barbara Watson, ildefonso Magno, Laurel Wakefield, Kelsi Buoncore

L-R Christina Murta, Barbara Watson, ildefonso Magno, Laurel Wakefield, Kelsi Buoncore

I would like to highlight our “Rock Star” Krystal who was part of the first graduating class of ORAs in Manitoba. Krystal transitioned from working as a Nurse Assistant to an ORA seamlessly and was highly motivated to learn right from the start. She is quick to ask questions and welcomes the opportunity to participate in new experiences. She is also highly skilled and actively requests to be in the most challenging cases. I can already see that the leadership skills that Krystal has will also make her a great teacher as she shares her knowledge with the next class of ORAs.

Krystal is a great example of a team player, actively watching during cases to anticipate the needs of the nurses and physicians, and offering a smile and kindness toward our patients and other members of the team.

Clinical Resource Nurse, Endoscopy/Bronchoscopy

The Operating Room Assistants who joined our team in Thoracic Endoscopy at HSC have made a great impact on the care we provide. We have been able to increase our efficiency and the number of procedures we are able to do each day.

The ORAs are an integral part of our health care team, taking on tasks and duties that allow our nurses more time to focus on tasks that require specialized nursing skills or that involve time spent treating and educating our patients. Together, we have reduced our procedural waitlists, giving patients timelier treatment and cancer diagnosis.

Ildefonso was the first ORA to join our team and is considered a total star. He is a vital team member with vast knowledge of our area and a very strong work ethic. He is always up for a challenge, is constantly improving the organization in our area, and is an inspiration to his co-workers. 

Clinical Resource Nurse, Thoracic Endoscopy, HSC

“We’ve been able to add a gastroscopy procedure at the end of each day, thanks to the improved efficiency and flow of our team, including our two operating room assistants.”

Manager of Patient Care, Surgical Procedures, HSC

Operating Room Assistants are a recent addition to Manitoba health care teams, supporting a variety of clinical and non-clinical functions that ensure safe and effective delivery of surgical/procedural care.

Each ORA must successfully complete a 12-week micro credential program as well as a two-week in-person clinical practicum where they train and work alongside a nurse mentor and experienced colleagues that have identified the duties in their day-to-day work that could be completed by an ORA.

Eligible participants must have a minimum of grade 12 education as well as completed a recognized, comprehensive Health Care Aide course and at least three years of recent experience working in an acute care setting, with OR/surgical experience preferred. The micro-credential is offered at no cost with a valid return of service agreement.

For more information, or to apply, visit Operating Room Assistant (