3 Ways to Up Your IP Game

Publish Date: December 16, 2016


Sharon Van Wicklin, MSN, RN, CNOR, CRNFA(E), CPSN-R, PLNC
AORN Senior Perioperative Practice Specialist




3 Ways to Up Your IP Game

Infection prevention (IP) is an important duty for every perioperative nurse. It can be time-consuming to keep up with the latest research, evidence-based practices, and infection prevention products we can apply in our daily practice. Certain areas in infection prevention practice, such as high-level disinfection and care for complex instruments such as flexible endoscopes can prove particularly challenging.

Luckily, there is a boon of research and practice information emerging right now in infection prevention that can help perioperative nurses stay current and a variety of these infection prevention education topics will be discussed at AORN’s upcoming Global Surgical Conference & Expo this April 1–5 in Boston.

Here are 3 ways perioperative nurses can up their IP game during the conference.

1. Check out the education track on Infection Prevention and choose from some of the education sessions that will address key infection prevention topics.

These include:

  • Flexible Endoscopes
  • Organ Donation Risks
  • Prevention of Surgical Site Infections
  • High-Level Disinfection Best Practice
  • Panel Discussion with AORN Guideline Authors
  • AAMI Sterilization Standards Updates

Attending these sessions can help you develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes that can positively affect safe patient care. As the lead author of the updated Guideline for Processing Flexible Endoscopes, I’m eager to speak with attendees about certain updates that change perioperative RN practices such as strategies for cleaning flexible endoscopes to reduce the risk for biofilm to form in the scope lumen. Another important update is the advantage of storing flexible endoscopes in a drying cabinet where the internal and external surfaces of the endoscope are continuously dried. This eliminates bacterial growth during storage and provides an endoscope that is both clean and dry.

2. Attend sessions that address guideline updates on infection prevention practices, so you will be ahead of the game when policies and procedures in your setting are updated.

One of these guideline sessions will address changes to the AAMI sterilization standards, and will be led by Amanda Benedict from AAMI and AORN’s Ramona Conner, MSN, RN, CNOR, editor-in- chief of AORN’s Guidelines for Perioperative Practice and co-chair of the AAMI steam sterilization hospital practices working group. Keeping up with changes to sterilization practices can help us stay efficient in our collaborative work with our sterile processing colleagues. One important responsibility of the perioperative RN is to minimize the patient’s risk of surgical site infection by providing reusable surgical items that have been subjected to an effective sterilization process and are sterile.

3. Visit the Exhibit floor to learn more about the infection prevention products you use in your own setting.

It can be challenging to make sure you have a solid understanding of the latest instructions for products used in practices such as high-level disinfection and sterilization. For example, the revised AORN Guideline for Processing Flexible Endoscopes now recommends mechanical processing of flexible endoscopes. The evidence shows that mechanical processing improves cleaning effectiveness, increases efficiency, minimizes personnel exposure to biohazardous materials, and can be more successfully monitored for quality and consistency.

Taking time to speak with manufacturers directly is a great way to ensure you are handling infection prevention products correctly for optimum safety. Make sure to touch base with your infection prevention colleagues back home before you attend the conference to understand any current discussions they may be having regarding infection prevention. This can be a great way to strengthen your connection with infection preventionists in your facility, and we know this working relationship between IP and perioperative nursing can be so valuable in protecting perioperative patients from infection.

Check out the Infection Prevention education track for AORN’s 2017 Global Surgical Conference & Expo and register to attend the conference.