Policy Agenda

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.

2022 Policy Agenda

  • Health Equity

    Improving surgical outcomes requires more equitable care delivery and institutional investment in the safety and well-being of all patients. AORN urges extraordinary action to curb and eliminate all disparities within current models of health care.

  • Public Health

    Funding: AORN encourages local, state and federal governments and agencies to fund public health protections, including, but not limited to viral testing and vaccines.

    Public Safety and Protection: AORN supports public safety precautions including, but not limited to face coverings, social distancing and vaccine mandates related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Safe Care Delivery

    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.

  • 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 eliminate 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.

  • Safety and Support: For Patients and Perioperative Nurses

    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, and safe patient handling programs focused on injury prevention.

  • 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.