1. Section Editor(s): Rodts, Mary Faut DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN
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I have just returned from the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) Congress in Atlanta. What a great event for learning, networking, and yes, socializing. There is no better time of the year than mid-May to rejuvenate ourselves and our nursing knowledge. The success of our specialty will be built on continuing to own orthopaedic nursing care. Whether we provide that care on an orthopaedic unit; medical surgical unit; outpatient clinic; ambulatory surgical center; skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility; by preparing patients to go home via nurse navigation/case management or through educating the next generation of orthopaedic nurses, we must continue to foster the specialty. Never has there been a need to have orthopaedic nurses in such a wide variety of settings. Orthopaedic nurses should be everywhere! As care changes, we will need to change as well.

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

As we continue in our current practices, we will need to interface with other disciplines. With increasing bundled care programs that require cost containment, it will be necessary to be sure that quality care is still maintained in evolving care models. We should seize the chance to speak to anyone who will listen about why an orthopaedic nurse is needed to manage patient care to achieve successful outcomes.


The nurse navigator role will increase. The care for orthopaedic patients should be managed by orthopaedic nurse navigators. This opens up an entire new field for orthopaedic nurses.


Providing expert care requires staying up-to-date on all aspects of care. It is no longer enough to understand what we have always done. We now must develop new processes to be sure that our patients are cared for when they are with us for shorter periods of time and also when they are home. Patients are being discharged to home earlier and care responsibilities are being shifted to family, friends, and whomever else can be called into action.


With all of these changes that are ahead of us, we must commit to keep on learning! Please plan now to attend Congress next year in Pittsburgh, May 30 to June 2, 2020. If you cannot attend, encourage others to see what Congress is all about.


Other educational opportunities abound via NAON. Orthopaedic Nursing articles, webinars, and printed materials are available.


As I left Congress this year, I was never more proud to be an orthopaedic nurse. I was able to meet nurses in their early careers and who came to NAON Congress for the first time. It was affirmation that the specialty of orthopaedic nursing has begun to grow the next generation of care providers. Those in mentoring and leadership roles should continue to prioritize the exchange of knowledge and development of expert orthopaedic clinicians. After all, in all likelihood, each one of us will depend on orthopaedic nurses in the future!