1. Section Editor(s): Rodts, Mary Faut DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN
  2. Editor

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As orthopaedic nurses, we have seen the changes to providing patient care over the years. A procedure such as total knee replacement that required a 7-day stay in the hospital and possibly skilled nursing to follow is now being done as an outpatient procedure or just requiring a night or two in the hospital. When these patients leave our care, are they really ready? Are their families or friends capable of providing the care they need? How do we prepare the caregivers to be able to assess all of the things that nurses have learned through practice?

Mary Faut Rodts, DNP... - Click to enlarge in new window Editor

Orthopaedic nurses often find themselves trying to "get it all done." Now, they also need to be sure that not only do they manage the normal postoperative things such as IVs, antibiotics, pain management, ambulation, fluid balance, etc., but they also need to be sure that all discharge education is completed and completed in the first 24 hours. Do you ever wonder how the patient will do at home alone? Do you ever doubt that the family can handle the care? Is the burden of care being shifted to the family and is that the right thing? Is there any downside to this management? What can be done to be sure that patients are carefully managed?


Patients and families must have their expectations set at the time the surgical procedure is initially contemplated. They must understand the post-hospital care and therapy that will be required. Patient postoperative management is now increasingly being turned over to family and friends.


This is the new world of orthopaedic patient management. With care management rapidly changing, it is imperative that orthopaedic nurses have the information to be able to practice at the highest level and in all care settings. What was the routine 2 years ago may be obsolete today.


Staying current with current trends and practice can be difficult; however, there are many ways that orthopaedic nurses' practice can remain up to date. Fortunately, your professional association offers many opportunities for you. Attending Congress is one way to learn about current trends, but equally important is to be able to network with fellow orthopaedic nurses from across the country. Regional variation in care can provide insight into different ways to manage our patients. This year's Congress is in sunny Atlanta, May 18-21, 2019. As I sit here in cold Chicago, nothing sounds more delightful than networking with colleagues in Atlanta in May. I can't wait.


NAON also provides other learning opportunities such as on-demand online programs, live online programs, and webinars. Your journal, Orthopaedic Nursing, also provides information on current orthopaedic issues. The March/April 2019 issue will be devoted to issues related to opioid use.


As always, if you have any ideas for content for the journal or would like to become part of the journal team, please contact me at Here is to a great 2019!