1. Section Editor(s): Thompson, Elizabeth M. MSN, RN, CNOR

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Collaboration seems to be a timely theme for this year's Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Congress. Changing healthcare reimbursement, an aging workforce, and nurse retention are just a few of the challenges facing perioperative nursing. What does collaboration mean to the perioperative nurse? With whom do we collaborate and what will this look like in our setting?

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The dictionary defines collaboration as working jointly with others, especially in an intellectual endeavor. Some of the synonyms of collaboration are teamwork, partnership, cooperation, and group effort.


I believe collaboration means something slightly different than the rest of its synonyms, which evoke a sense of something more immediate or current. Collaboration takes on an extra dimension with the words "especially in an intellectual endeavor." This phrase implies that collaboration has an essence of enhanced communication, understanding, and strategizing for the future in order to achieve a common goal.


So with whom do we collaborate? In the OR, our focus, as it should be when providing patient care, tends to be narrow and absorbed on the current situation, patient, and procedure. But perioperative nurses also need to participate in the big picture, and be aware of the organization's needs and fiscal situation. So nurses need to collaborate at all levels within the organization, making open communication more important than ever.


Teamwork in the surgical arena has always set the example for others in healthcare. The surgical team collaborates in controlling costs, using technology, and optimizing patient outcomes. Collaboration with the institution occurs by keeping the mission and the vision of the institution as a guiding force in supporting changes. National collaboration with professional groups and organizations gives strength in numbers and a combined voice of perioperative nurses to keep patient safety as a priority.


How do we maintain the same standards of care, good patient outcomes, and still promote growth of the organization, subsequently enhancing the provision of care we can offer? That will be the challenge facing organizations, leadership, and staff. Collaboration within the OR team (while being mindful of facility strategic goals and promoting patient safety through professional development) is paramount. The success of our healthcare institutions and the outcomes of our patients depend on it.


Elizabeth M. Thompson, MSN, RN, CNOR

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Editor-in-Chief Nursing Education Specialist Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. ORNURSE@WOLTERSKLUWER.COM