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North Carolina Safe Surgery Collaborative

Publish Date: November 16, 2011

North Carolina’s Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety recently introduced a statewide safe surgery collaborative designed to improve perioperative safety by implementing core, evidence-based interventions within the context of an open and collaborative learning network. Efforts of the safe surgery collaborative will be aimed at preventing surgical harm such as surgical infection, venous thromboembolism, and wrong site surgery, with achievable incremental goals and objectives toward that end. The scope of the initial collaborative will include total hip and knee replacement procedures, providing a focused opportunity to refine tools and processes. The second phase of the initiative will likely include abdominal hysterectomy and CABG surgeries, with an eventual rollout to all surgical procedures and settings. As part of its efforts, the group also developed a surgical checklist and will be educating facilities on how to use the checklist, as well as how and why to use a briefing and debriefing process to improve surgical outcomes.

Initiated in part by the North Carolina hospital association, this statewide safe surgery collaborative stands out among patient safety initiatives because of its early recognition of the importance of including nursing in patient safety initiatives designed to implement real change.

AORN past-president Sharon McNamara, MSN RN CNOR, has been involved with the collaborative since its inception. In addition, Lady Sue Bell, BSN MBA MHA RN, Brenda Davis, RN CNOR, and Karen Lemmons, RN BSN CNOR, sit on the collaborative’s expert advisory panel on behalf of the North Carolina Council of periOperative Registered Nurses, which voted to support and participate in the collaborative at its April 16, 2011 state council meeting. Bell, Davis and Lemmons are serving on the expert panel with colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health, the North Carolina chapter of the American College of Surgeons, the North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists, the North Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the North Carolina Association of Orthopedic Nurses, the North Carolina Orthopedic Association, and three large hospital systems.

AORN is delighted to support the collaborative and recognize the hard work of the North Carolina Council of periOperative Registered Nurses and its participation in the collaborative. AORN formally endorsed the collaborative in ___ and will continue to offer public support for the collaborative as it strives toward its goal of using teamwork and evidence-based inventions to improve surgical safety across North Carolina.

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