AORN campaign aims to 'clear' hazardous smoke from ORs

Surgical smoke, or plume, is sometimes produced in operating rooms as a byproduct of medical devices. Plume is so hazardous to clinicians in ORs that researchers equate the use of an electrosurgery device that produces it on a single gram of tissue to smoking six unfiltered cigarettes in 15 minutes.

Although the long-term effects of surgical smoke are still unknown, statistics show that nurses working in ORs are twice as likely to have respiratory complications as the general population. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses has launched a campaign aimed at mitigating the health risks that might be created by surgical smoke.

"We created the Go Clear Award program to give surgical team members and administrators the tools they need to establish and maintain a safe surgical setting," Linda Groah, RN, executive director and CEO of AORN, said in a statement. "At this time, there is very little awareness about smoke hazards and there is too little consistency in safe practices. We need to turn that around."

The Go Clear program includes elements of testing, interprofessional education, compliance monitoring and gap analysis to evaluate how surgical teams can reduce and eliminate hazards related to plume. Materials for those interested in participating in the campaign will be released in August 2016. 

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