1. Tierney, Geri L.

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FIGURE. Geri L. Tier... - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE.

I am "dedicated to the prevention and care of musculoskeletal disorders including any disease, injury or significant impairment to muscles, bones, joints and supporting connective tissue."


I can "diagnose and treat those conditions at which orthopaedic patients are at high risk, namely pain, impaired physical mobility, self-care deficits, activity intolerance, impaired skin integrity, infection, peripheral neurovascular dysfunction, impaired adjustment, body image disturbance, altered role performance, self-esteem disturbance, and post-trauma response."


I can "practice in any and all situations where patient with musculoskeletal disorders receive care, including acute care, outpatient surgery, extended or long term care, and home and community environments."


I work "independently and within an interdisciplinary team structure, interacting directly and collaboratively with multiple disciplines, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, physicians, educators, motion analysts, and other specialty nurses in the care of individuals and families."


Sounds exciting, doesn't it? I am passionate about being an Orthopaedic Nurse. The NAON position statement "Role and Value of the Orthopaedic Nurse", is an inspiring definition of what we do. We are a multi-talented, diversified, energetic, hard working, fun loving, and professional assembly of nurses.


The document states that the role of the Orthopaedic nurse includes:


* "promotion of wellness and self-care, the maintenance of health, and the prevention of injury and illness in the care of individuals of all ages with degenerative, traumatic, inflammatory, neuromuscular, congenital, metabolic, and oncologic disorders of the musculoskeletal system"


* using "clinical judgement and decision making on the nursing process, nursing theory, and research, as well as specific orthopaedic knowledge"


* "provides direct care or collaborates with other health care professionals to provide appropriate, effective, and efficient care and education"



Orthopaedic nurses are everywhere! They're assessing and advocating; identifying and treating; developing and implementing the plan of care; maintaining current knowledge; serving as educator, mentor, role model; contributing and applying clinical research; and being politically aware and proactive.


NAON nurses are everywhere! Orthopaedic nursing expertise is needed and we have it. We must share and promote our knowledge of musculoskeletal healthcare. We are NAON!


If I were to write a job description for orthopaedic nurses I would use words like advocate and caring professionals. NAON's job description for orthopaedic nurses states that an orthopaedic nurses duties revolve around "Maintaining a balance between technology, specialty knowledge, clinical expertise, research, political awareness, and caring, the role of the orthopaedic nurse is clearly that of patient advocate and gatekeeper in the delivery of orthopaedic patient care. The value of the orthopaedic nurse is significantly demonstrated through positive effects on access, cost, and quality for all consumers of musculoskeletal care."


We need to be in offices, hospitals, operating rooms, clinics, pediatric units, geriatric care, long term care, outpatient services, case management, education, research and where ever patients need our expertise. Orthopaedic nurses are sometimes hidden and overshadowed by the high tech areas of healthcare.


Our orthopaedic patients are often not so "sick" as much as just "broken" but they need special care to make sure they are cared for while the broken parts heal and get back to optimum function. We are fortunate to practice with orthopaedic surgeons who recognize the orthopaedic nurses as partners in caring for broken patients. We maintain the passion in our bones to have the positive effect on musculoskeletal healthcare. Join me in the adventure.


NAON Position Statement Role and Value of the Orthopaedic Nurse


Approved by NAON Executive Board, July 2002