One of the most exciting conferences that I go to each year is the annual Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Global Surgical Conference and Expo! I don’t even know how many I have been to now, but it charges me up after a long winter. It gets me motivated to see old friends. I get excited about the different locations, and I have been lucky now for so many years to be part of the breast cancer awareness breakfast with 1,000 nurses, super early in the morning, dancing, celebrating and joining together for a great cause while we all happen to be in the neighborhood! So we are Boston bound. I don’t recall the conference taking place here in a very long time.
This year I am pretty “stoked.” I never use that word, but it is appropriate in this context. I am “stoked” about some very special announcements and surprises at our exhibit at the conference. I am not going to tell you what we are announcing. I will say it is very special because it is the pinnacle of empowering and engaging patients, making them a part of their care, and supporting the OR staff.
Here’s a hint.
Surgical site infections (SSIs) account for 31 percent of all healthcare-associated infections.1 A while back I was trying to find information on SSIs from a patient’s perspective. I urge you to look up Rosie Bartel. You can just Google her. I located a video that was on the web site of the Institute of Health Improvement (IHI), which coincidentally is also in Boston. I found this very personal video of Rosie. She described going to the hospital for a knee replacement. It should have been a routine surgical experience, but the outcome was horrific. She got a surgical site infection and had the knee replaced. The infection still wasn’t resolved and she ended up having multiple surgeries leaving her with one leg two inches shorter than the other. After a three year period and a total of 11 surgeries the only option she had was to amputate her leg as she had MRSA. Despite all of the additional surgeries and care, the amputation was the only possible resolution. It is pretty remarkable that Rosie wanted to share her story. I have to tell you as I watched I became so empathetic and yet so helpless. I saw a comment that was on IHI’s website that said the hospital had a very low surgical infection rate, yet one SSI was one too many.
You and I, really all of us, can make a difference for patients and the experiences they have. One study revealed just how bad the patients who experience a SSI really feel. Some said they wanted to die. Others described being in “utter despair” months after leaving the hospital.2 We need to make our patients feel safe, get them involved in a way that takes the stress and worry away. It’s about making a better consumer experience and delivering a quality outcome every time! Can’t wait to tell you more!
1. Prevalence of healthcare-associated infections in acute care hospitals in Jacksonville, Florida. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22314066. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. Electronic Published January 12, 2012.
2. Patients’ experiences of surgical site infections. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1757177412452677. Judith Tanner*, Wendy Padley, Susan Davey, Katherine Murphy, Brian Brown. Journal of Infection Prevention. Published July 26, 2012.