FORT BRAGG NC. --The Womack Army Medical Center Department of Surgery Team lands Center of Excellence in Surgical Safety: RSI (retained surgical item) Prevention Award in their drive to improve patient outcomes.
The Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) recognized WAMC as the first military facility to receive this prestigious award. This recognition was in response to the team’s enrollment and completion of the AORN training program, geared towards improving skills and helping teams mitigate risks and improve outcomes. When the surgical team learned from Quality and Safety Department Chief, Mimi Anderson that there was an evidence-based education program that would complement their processes they seized the opportunity and got their team trained.
An additional benefit to their commitment to patient safety as they would combine this training with the procedural instructions (DHA-PI 6025.44) provided by the Defense Health Agency as an added layer of protection.
Both Perioperative Registered Nurses, Capt. Paige Becker partnered with Melony Chavis, operating room educator, to work on preventing retained surgical items.
“We presented our program to the operating room staff, and had each nurse, surgical tech, certified nurse anesthetist, and physician take the training,” said Chavis. “Numerous physicians were able to sign their commitment that they will utilize and allow us the opportunity to scan, count and do all the things necessary to prevent retained surgical items,” said Chavis.
“It was a huge commitment on our operating room team’s part to get that many employees to buy into it and do the training, that says a lot about our operating room staff. They want to do good for our patients,” said Chavis.
“We want to give our patients the best outcome possible,” said Becker.
Their progressions involved weekly audits of the 13 operating rooms and the identification of any errors or issues during the process. This was in addition to the use of other radio frequency identification (RFID) detection systems. They provided an additional measure to their counting method of surgical items to further guarantee that surgical items are accounted for and compliant with the recommendations in AORN’s guideline for prevention of unintentionally retained surgical items.
Surgical items such as sharps, sponges or instruments can be retained following a surgery and cause great harm to patient. Through their audit they encouraged the use of the RFID scanning technology to make sure that nothing is left behind. The use of this technology allows them to identify any missing surgical items, reducing the possibility of an unnecessary surgery.
“Chavis did the footwork on the audits, going through each operating room and making sure they're counting properly, the instruments and the articles, like the surgical sponges, and checking if they're utilizing the wand during the open, middle, and ending counts. The Operating Room staff take great pride in teamwork and that is exactly what this award recognizes,” said Becker.