Circulating Nurses Recover Errors in Cardiovascular OR

Circulating perioperative nurses reduce surgical errors/incidents and improve patient safety

TUESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Circulating perioperative nurses can help reduce surgical errors and incidents in the cardiovascular operating room (OR) and improve patient safety, especially with regard to surgical prepping and aseptic technique, according to research published in the June issue of the AORN Journal.

Y. Tony Yang, Sc.D., M.P.H., of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and colleagues conducted a study in which circulating perioperative nurses observed 18 surgical procedures performed in a cardiovascular OR between June and September of 2010.

The authors note that a total of 200 incidents were observed, for an average of 11.11 errors or incidents during each procedure. Nurses intercepted more than three-quarters (77 percent) of all incidents, and the remaining incidents were ameliorated or mitigated to avoid adverse outcomes. Incidents included breaks in aseptic technique or surgical prepping; errors in infection assessment or prevention; counting errors; errors involving skin or tissue injury; or various miscellaneous errors such as wrong medications, patient transfer, or electrical injury.

"Our study demonstrated that circulating nurses play an important role in maintaining patient safety. Without them, the errors or incidents caught and ameliorated during the study period could have resulted in serious adverse outcomes," the authors write. "This study also reinforced the necessity of vigilance in the OR, especially in regard to aseptic technique and surgical prepping."

The study was funded by research grants from Inova Health Systems.

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