Policy Agenda

We Advocate for What Matters

Each year the AORN board of directors establishes a policy agenda based on recommendations from the National Legislative Forum. The Government Affairs team pursues these goals in legislative and regulatory arenas nationwide.

Our team collaborates with health care colleagues, organizations, and decision-makers to advance patient safety and health care improvements in all operative settings, but we don’t endorse specific candidates.

2024 Policy Agenda

  • Health Equity

    Improving surgical outcomes requires promoting equitable frameworks for care delivery and institutional investment in the safety and well-being of all patients. AORN urges extraordinary action to curb and eliminate all disparities in health care delivery and ensure appropriate health care for all, including transition-related care and unrestricted access to reproductive health care.

  • Public Health

    AORN encourages funding and support for public health initiatives including viral testing, vaccine mandates, PPE availability, and public health precautions and investment related to communicable disease and the mental health of all health care providers.

    AORN supports improved access to mental health services and meaningful legislation and regulatory efforts to address the public health crisis caused by gun violence.

  • Surgical Smoke Evacuation

    AORN leads efforts to enact laws requiring facilities to adopt and implement policies addressing evacuation of surgical smoke for all smoke-generating procedures to prevent ongoing exposure to the hazardous carcinogenic and mutagenic cells contained in surgical smoke and to ensure the health and safety of all surgical team members.

  • Perioperative Safety and Practice Support

    AORN advises and collaborates with regulatory and standard setting bodies to ensure access to essential PPE, public health readiness, and adequate mental health support and compensation for nursing services.

    AORN encourages legislative and regulatory efforts to establish an accountable, trusting patient safety culture in the perioperative setting, including robust whistleblower protections for health care providers and mandatory reporting of safety incidences, such as surgical site infections and wrong site surgery. In addition to surgical smoke-free operating rooms, perioperative nurses deserve fatigue prevention resources, strong workplace violence protections, safe patient handling programs focused on injury prevention, and protections from prosecution for medication errors.

  • Perioperative Practice Issues

    RN Circulator: AORN works to ensure every surgical patient has a dedicated perioperative registered nurse circulator for the duration of each operative and invasive procedure. Our team also actively promotes laws and regulations to ensure the supervisory presence of the perioperative RN in the perioperative setting.

    RN First Assistant: AORN supports the expanded role of the RNFA by actively working to achieve reimbursement parity for RNFAs. RNFAs work in collaboration with the entire surgical team to achieve optimal patient outcomes nationwide and yet private payer reimbursement is only guaranteed in 17 states.

    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.