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AORN Legislative Priorities

Capitol building domeThe Association of periOperative Registered Nurses promotes and responds to legislative and policy issues that impact the practice of perioperative nursing and patient safety in the surgical environment. AORN works collaboratively with health care colleagues, organizations, and decision-makers to advance patient safety and health care improvements in all operative settings, but does not endorse specific candidates.

RN as Circulator

Every surgical patient deserves a dedicated perioperative registered nurse circulator for the duration of any operative or other invasive procedure. AORN actively promotes laws and regulations to ensure the supervisory presence of the registered nurse circulator in the perioperative setting for patient safety.

Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)

AORN supports the expanded role of the RNFA by actively working to obtain reimbursement parity for RNFAs at the state-level and in the health insurance marketplaces formed under the Affordable Care Act.

Workplace Safety

Perioperative nurses deserve strong workplace violence protections and safe patient handling programs focused on injury prevention. AORN supports legislation and policies that eliminate manual patient handling. Institutions should also have strong and enforceable safety policies for the operating room environment on such issues as sharps safety, infection control, environmental cleaning, electrical cord placement, and surgical smoke.

Institutions should provide appropriate emergency preparedness supplies and training. AORN supports legislation and regulations that create a safe and healthy work environment such as increased penalties for those convicted of assaults of health care personnel and the establishment violence prevention programs.

Patient Safety Culture

AORN encourages legislative and regulatory efforts to establish an accountable, trusting patient safety culture in the perioperative setting, such as robust whistleblower protections for health care providers and mandatory reporting on safe surgery checklist use.

Professional Practice

AORN protects the perioperative registered nurse’s scope of practice and patient safety by engaging in legislative, regulatory, agency, and other stakeholder approaches to RN education, certification, supervision, roles, competencies, and duties.

Health System Improvements

AORN promotes the role of the perioperative registered nurse in achieving the reform goals of cost containment and improved patient experiences and outcomes. Health care system reform efforts should recognize the contributions of the perioperative registered nurse in improving patient outcomes. AORN also promotes standardized data collection and analysis to advance improvements in patient safety and care quality.

Guidelines for Perioperative Practice


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