Marie Barrentine, RN, BSN, Eds

president, Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses

To the editor:

As an operating room nurse and president of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, I wish to share information about a special week designated as Perioperative Nurse Week – Nov. 8-14 – a time for honoring perioperative nurses everywhere.

This tradition got its start in 1979, when AORN designated a day each year to promote consumer education and enhance public knowledge regarding the role of the periopererative nurse. Through the years, this has been changed to a weeklong celebration to reflect the broad spectrum of patient-care services provided to surgical patients by perioperative nurses.

Perioperative nursing is a specialized area of nursing practice which requires a unique and highly-specialized skill set. As a perioperative nurse, I am responsible for planning and directing all nursing care for patients about to undergo invasive surgical procedures, and I serve as the patient’s advocate while they are powerless to make their own decisions. I am known as the circulating nurse, a member of the surgical team working in collaboration with other health-care professionals.

In 2009, perioperative nurses are deeply involved in health reform by promoting standardized data collection at the point of service to use for comparative effectiveness studies. This is key to achieving patient safety and a perfect fit for our celebration of “Perioperative Nurse Week: Reaching the Peak of Perioperative Practice: Safety, Quality, Collaboration.”