“Individuals need to scan only a few nursing magazines to discover that accidents and injuries within healthcare settings happen in the operating room (OR) more than any other location. The OR is a unique work environment and requires higher levels of teamwork and communication. The nature of the environment creates specific issues that may be under control in other units in the hospital,” begins a piece in EducationCareerArticles.com.

Particular risks noted in this article include:

  • The physical room is often under low light.
  • Space may be limited due to the number of people and machines.
  • People are moving in and out of the room bringing supplies and removing waste.
  • Sharp instruments are being passed around.
  • It can be confusing as to who should be watching out for the unexpected.
  • When the patient is being positioned or when restraints are being removed, there is a danger of slippage, causing a risk to staff (nurses have more back problems than most other professionals!)
  • When medication is handed to a physician to administer or an IV is being connected, a surgeon’s request can be misheard or misunderstood.
  • Sponges or tools can be left in the patient.
  • Nicks and scratches go unobserved and infection can set in.

From our decades of dealing with nurses, we at Action Products can add to that list:

  • In fluid-intensive cases such as orthopedics and gynecology, wet floors present a danger of slippage
  • In high-stress, life-and-death cases, social interactions among staff can be stressful

Technology has grown within surgical circles at a much higher rate than that of some other nursing specialties, Lori Robertson, RN, DNOR points out in Healthcare News. “Standards of care are often dictated by the level of technology available and commonly used for a particular procedure.”  Among the particular challenges faced by perioperative nurses, Robertson describes the following: 

  • the need to learn the information technology programs used in automated patient charting and information management
  • the need to learn the unique equipment and advanced skills required for each surgical specialty
  • the need for materials management and understanding of specialty supplies

The need for specialty supplies and equipment poses a particular challenge in the perioperative setting, Robertson stresses. Familiarity with supplies decreases case length as well as surgeon frustration. Physicians and anesthesiologists rely on this clinical expertise, both on and off the sterile field, she adds.

Today, pressure injury prevention represents a top hospital initiative, due to the combination of Medicare laws and the need for healthcare cost containment. At Action Products, we take great pride in our ongoing role in contributing to the reduction of that very risk, helping perioperative teams meet their hospitals’ zero tolerance goals, and educating O.R. staff on the proper use of devices and positioning products.