NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Perioperative nurses were recognized for their important role and commitment to safe patient care during the annual Perioperative Nurse Week here, Nov. 11 to Nov. 14.
The Mike O’ Callaghan Federal Medical Center Operating Room consists of nine active duty service member nurses and four contract nurses who provide perioperative care in surgical specialties including general surgery, orthopedics, ear, nose and throat ophthalmology, urology, obstetrics and gynecology, oral surgery, peripheral vascular care, plastic surgery and gastrointestinal care.
The Competency and Credentialing Institute official website states that the Association of Registered Nurses House of Delegates approved a resolution that the AORN would elect a day each year to foster education and awareness regarding the role of the perioperative nurse in 1979. November 14 was identified as the day of celebration and a few years later was expanded to a full week.
Perioperative nursing is a specialized area of nursing practice that focuses on patients who are preparing for, or are receiving operative or other invasive procedures. Perioperative nurses are entrusted to work very close with surgeons, nurse anesthetics, surgical technologists, and nurse practitioners. These nurses also typically have basic life support and advanced cardiac life support certification.
According to Maj. (Dr.) Jennifer Mahar, assigned to the 99th Surgical Operations Squadron Operating Room support element chief, perioperative nurses are responsible for planning and directing all nursing care for patients who undergo invasive surgical procedures. They are surgical patient advocates, providing care for the surgical patient while they are under anesthesia and are not able to care for themselves. In addition, MOFH active duty perioperative nurses are battle-proven and provide world class medical support to all war fighters for combat and humanitarian missions globally.
Perioperative nursing requires a unique and highly-specialized skill set gained from specialized training and education. Active duty perioperative nurses can be new accessions with perioperative experience or may attend a three-month cross training program at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
While many other specific medical professions are celebrated respectfully, the perioperative nurse week focuses on the patient safety. By employing their critical thinking, assessment, diagnosing, outcome identification, planning, and evaluation skills, the perioperative nurse directs the nursing care and coordinates activities of the surgical team for the benefit of the patient.