AORN – Perioperative Mastery Program

Course Request

Learning Objectives

  • Antisepsis and disinfection
  • Perioperative normothermia
  • Evidence-based surgical practices

Course Description

This 16-module Periop Mastery Program drives high-quality surgical care by providing surgical nurses with the most current evidence-based clinical practices from AORN’s latest Guidelines for Perioperative Practice.

The modules in this course can be purchased separately or as a 16-module bundle.

  • Hand Hygiene in the Perioperative Setting
  • High-level Disinfection
  • Environmental Cleaning
  • Malignant Hyperthermia
  • Moderate Sedation
  • Older Adult
  • Positioning
  • Preoperative Patient Skin Antisepsis
  • Preventing Unplanned Perioperative Hypothermia
  • Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Prevention of Retained Surgical Items
  • Radiation Safety
  • Safe Environment of Care
  • Sterilization in the Perioperative Setting
  • Surgical Attire
  • Transmissible Infections

Did you know…

  • According to the latest data from the CDC, around 51 million inpatient surgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2010
  • Surgical procedures are fraught with risk…
    • Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the most common nosocomial infection in the United States, accounting for 20% of all hospital-acquired infections
    • From 2005 to 2012, 772 incidents of retained surgical items (RSI) were reported to The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event database

Course at a Glance

Target Audience: Nurses

Time to Complete: 30 Minutes each

Contributor: AORN

Prevention of healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) is a priority of all healthcare personnel. HAIs can result in untoward outcomes such as escalating cost of care, increased morbidity and mortality, longer length of stay, as well as the pain and suffering a patient may experience. Hand hygiene, including hand washing and surgical hand scrubs, is the most effective way to prevent and control infections and represent the least expensive means of achieving both.

This module teaches perioperative RNs to optimize patient care practices through proper hand hygiene.

Cleaning and decontamination are the initial and most critical steps in breaking the chain of disease transmission. Hospital personnel need guidance for achieving safe and effective high-level disinfection of reusable instruments and equipment.
This module covers the appropriate way to clean perioperative environment according to current evidence.
Malignant hyperthermia (MH) is a rare genetic condition characterized by a severe hypermetabolic state and rigidity of the skeletal muscles. It can occur when susceptible individuals are exposed to triggering agents such as anesthesia.

This module familiarizes perioperative nurses with the characteristics of MH and guidelines for treatment.

Moderate sedation/analgesia is a mild depression of consciousness achieved by the administration of sedatives or the combination of sedatives and analgesic medications. The desired effect is a level of sedation with or without analgesia whereby the patient is able to tolerate diagnostic, therapeutic, and invasive procedures through relief of anxiety and pain. The perioperative nurse trained in the administration of moderate sedation/analgesia must thoroughly understand their scope of practice and patient care through the operative phases.

After completing this module, perioperative RNs will understand their role in administering moderate sedation/analgesia.

Advances in geriatric care and minimally invasive techniques have increased opportunities for elderly patients to safely undergo surgical and other invasive procedures. This has implications for perioperative nurses, who must recognize the changes associated with aging and provide care that takes into consideration the unique needs of the elderly adult. Age alone puts elderly patients at risk for surgical complications. Older adults have an overall decline in physical function and undergo a myriad of changes in health that are age-related and independent of disease.

This module provides guidance in promoting optimal outcomes for the older adult through recognition of the physiological, cognitive/psychosocial and sociological changes associated with aging.

Prevention of positioning injury requires anticipation of the positioning equipment necessary based on the patient’s identified needs and the planned operative or invasive procedure, application of the principles of body mechanics and ergonomics, ongoing assessment throughout the perioperative period, and coordination with the entire perioperative team. Attention must be given to patient comfort and safety, as well as circulatory, respiratory, integumentary, musculoskeletal, and neurological structures. Working as a member of the team, the perioperative registered nurse can minimize the risk of perioperative complications related to positioning.

This module provides the perioperative RN with a basic understanding of the positioning equipment required based on procedure and patient needs, patient safety factors, application of the principles of body mechanics and ergonomics, ongoing assessment, the nurse as advocate, and coordination with the entire perioperative team.

One of the perioperative RN’s greatest responsibilities is to reduce the patient’s risk for surgical site infection (SSI); therefore, effectively decreasing the amount of bacteria on the patient’s skin near the incision site lowers the risk of wound contamination and subsequent SSI. Perioperative RNs also play a critical role in the development and implementation of preoperative patient skin antisepsis protocols.

This module is based on evidence-based practice guidelines for perioperative registered nurses (RNs) and other interested health care professionals to use in performing preoperative patient skin preparation.

Hypothermia, defined as a core body temperature less than 36° C (96.8° F), presents a constant challenge for perioperative nurses because many surgical patients are at risk for developing unplanned perioperative hypothermia during surgery. Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that mild hypothermia increases the incidence of serious adverse consequences including surgical site infections.

By taking this module, perioperative RNS will learn how to optimize patient care practices to maintain normothermia and prevent the redistribution phase of unplanned hypothermia.

Prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) reduces the potential for associated complications such as post-thrombatic syndrome and pulmonary embolism. This module provides perioperative RNs with reliable practices to reduce the potential for patient harm as a result of DVT.

Health care organizations are responsible for employing standardized, transparent, verifiable, and reliable practices to account for all surgical items used during a procedure to lessen the potential for patient harm as a result of retention. There is a potential for inaccurate counts with both current variable manual counting practices and the use of adjunct technology. Therefore, behavioral change and an understanding of risk reduction strategies unique to each setting should be employed when adopting system(s) to account for all surgical items.

This module presents reliable practices to be implemented by all perioperative team members to reduce the occurrence of retained surgical items in patients undergoing surgical and other invasive procedures.

Radiological procedures are valuable diagnostic and treatment tools; however, the use of radiation in the perioperative setting introduces a variety of safety concerns for both patients and staff. All types of radiation can cause tissue damage and may lead to long-term adverse effects. Because of these factors, it is important that perioperative nurses understand how to minimize the risk of radiation exposure to staff and patients.

After taking this module, the perioperative nurse will understand the clinical considerations of using radiation in the OR and will be able to identify measures to minimize the risk of radiation injury to staff and patients.

Maintaining a safe environment of care for patients and health care workers in the perioperative setting is critical. This module teaches perioperative RNS to identify and minimize hazards in the perioperative environment, including musculoskeletal injury, fire safety, electrical equipment, alarms, warming cabinets, medical gas cylinders, waste anesthesia gases, latex, chemicals, and hazardous waste.
The creation and maintenance of an aseptic environment has a direct influence on patient outcomes. A major responsibility of the perioperative registered nurse is to minimize patient risk for surgical site infection. One of the measures for preventing surgical site infections is to provide surgical items that are free of contamination at the time of use. This can be accomplished by subjecting them to cleaning and decontamination, followed by a sterilization process. Sterilization provides the highest level of assurance that surgical items are free of viable microbes.

This module provides guidance on the different types of sterilizers, methods for maintaining the sterility of sterile items, and processing monitoring devices.

The human body and surfaces in the surgical environment are major sources of microbial contamination and transmission. Surgical attire and personal protective equipment are worn to provide a high level of cleanliness and hygiene within the perioperative environment and to promote patient and worker safety. Reducing the patient’s exposure to microorganisms that are shed from the skin and hair of perioperative personnel may reduce the patient’s risk for surgical site infection.

After completing this module, the perioperative RN will be able to identify correct surgical attire and how it is worn to protect both patients and health care workers.

The rapidly changing healthcare environment presents healthcare personnel with continual challenges in the form of newly recognized pathogens and well known microorganisms that have become more resistant to today’s therapeutic modalities. Protecting patients and healthcare practitioners from infectious agent transmission continues to be a primary focus of perioperative RNs. The prevention and control of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) requires that all health care organizations implement, evaluate, and adjust efforts to decrease the risk of transmission.

This module guides perioperative RNs in minimizing the risk of transmitting infections. Topics include standard precautions and transmission-based precautions (contact, droplet, airborne); bloodborne pathogens; personal protective equipment; health care-associated infections, MDROs; immunization; and activities of health care workers with infections, exudative lesions, and non-intact skin.



Author Information

Founded in 1949, AORN (Association of periOperative Registered Nurses) unites and empowers surgical nurses, health care organizations, and industry to define standardized practice for perioperative professionals.