From the Editor 

Dear Readers –

Are you willing to share your face and a bit about your experience with your fellow readers? Whether you are already working as an RNFA or are currently a student, we are in need of perioperative nurses to profile in this newsletter. And you may benefit from the publicity as well!
Julie Lancaster
Please send your photo along with your name, credentials, current job title and a quote (words of wisdom about working in the OR, tips for new RNFAs, or similar) to [email protected]. If you have questions, just email or call me at 303-733-1120. Thank you!


Julie Lancaster, Editor
AORN’s New Patient Safety Tool Kits

tool kitAORN has unveiled the newly revised
Correct Site Surgery Tool Kit, which was developed to assist health care providers to implement The Joint Commission Universal Protocol for ensuring that the correct surgery is done on the correct patient at the correct site. It contains resources to help you learn about the protocol and how to implement it.If you are an AORN member, you can download the tool kit documents at no cost and even earn one free contact hour for successfully implementing the independent study and learner evaluation components.

This is one of several tool kits that AORN makes available to its members to promote patient safety. Others address fire safety, safe medication, implementing a just culture that fosters reporting and analysis of errors, standardizing patient hand-off practices, and more. These tool kits offer a wealth of resources that support awareness and education initiatives, as well as provide OR managers with sample policies and procedures that can be adapted to specific needs. And they are all free to AORN members. Click for a list of the tool kits available.

News: Wash Your Hands!

Hand-washing in hospitals seems like a no-brainer. Everyone knows frequent hand-washing is critical to prevent the spread of pathogens.

Or do they?

The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare is unveiling the report of a pilot project this week that focused on hand-washing at eight hospital systems nationwide, reported Kevin Sack in his New York Times blog, “Prescriptions,” on Sept. 10, 2009.

“To create a baseline, each hospital agreed last spring to carefully measure its current compliance, using trained unidentified observers,” Sack wrote. “To the surprise of many administrators, the hospitals found that caregivers on average washed their hands fewer than half the times they entered or exited a patient’s room.”

That’s the hygiene standard used by both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and incorporated into the Joint Commission’s accreditation goals, Sack added.

“The low compliance rates, which ranged from about 30 percent to 70 percent at individual hospitals, ‘are hallmarks of processes that are not in control,’ said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, the Joint Commission’s president.”

The hospitals were able to improve compliance dramatically over a several-month period through strategies that ranged from repositioning soap dispensers and placing stands for people to set down the items they’re carrying to simply reminding hospital personnel directly.

“Certainly there are some individuals who believe they are above the law,” Sacks quoted Dr. Chassin as saying, “and their peers and others are reluctant to call their omissions to their attention.”

Click for more on the project and a list of the hospitals involved.