Infection Control Today - 03/2003: AORN Congress Offers Something for Everyone

AORN Congress Offers Something for Everyone

By Donna Watson, RN, MSN, CNOR, ARNP, FNP

The upcoming AORN Congress, March 23-27, 2003 in Chicago, reflects a wide range of issues and topics of interest to perioperative registered nurses, central service/sterile processing professionals and infection control professionals. AORN has worked hard to put together a thought-provoking education program with something for everyone, including managers, those with a clinical focus, and students and faculty. A common theme of patient safety will tie sessions to a broader message that AORN members put our patients' safety first above all else.

AORN's Education Sessions:

  • Provide information related to current issues, trends, and future challenges affecting perioperative nursing practice;
  • Provide insight into major perioperative safety trends;
  • Identify clinical, leadership, management, and education strategies to improve patient outcomes;
  • Explore strategies for increasing the voice of perioperative nurses in the legislative health policy arena;
  • Enhance attendee personal and professional skills.

In addition to education sessions of particular interest to infection control professionals, nationally recognized speakers will be featured, including the following:

  • Julianne M. Morath, RN, MS, winner of the 2002 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Award. Morath will speak in relation to the science of safety and lessons learned from high reliability organizations, in which failure is not an option, to the high-risk complexity of the perioperative environment.
  • John Nance, a well recognized broadcast journalist, pilot and a nationally known author of both fiction and non-fiction books will speak to working in the perioperative setting, which means working at "the sharp end" of a complex human system where penalty for failure is very great in both human and monetary terms. The healthcare professions do not have an exclusive franchise on life at the sharp end. Other businesses and professions exist that also face a continuous human and monetary penalty for any significant failure or incapacity, among them the nuclear power industry and perhaps most widespread, aviation. Nance discusses the principles that aviation has implemented to improve safety, which can be applied to health care and specifically the perioperative arena.
  • H. Ross Perot will discuss his perspective on the significance of nursing leadership in healthcare.

Other speakers include Donna Cardillo, RN, MS; Karyn Buxman, RN, CSP, CPAE; Keith Harrell; and Lyn St. James.

Education sessions of particular interest to infection control professionals include:


Session 7007, Stuck on You: Prevent Sharps Injury features up-to-date concepts to provide managers, educators, and epidemiology department staff with a tracking method for compliance with sharps safety.


Session 7012, Systematically Implementing an SUD Reprocessing Program, brings together industry educators, infection control practitioners, central service managers, and AORN members who have successfully implemented single-use device reprocessing programs to share their experiences.


Session 7025, Barrier Protection - The Latest Information, compares differences in surgical hand scrub preparations and barrier materials. Additional discussion centers around skin cleansing agents and how they must complement barrier protective devices; not all products will work in every clinical application, and other interesting points.

Issues - National scope

Session 7026, Surgical Infection Prevention Project, features Peter Houck, MD, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who provides a brief overview of a national surgical infection prevention project (SIP), modifications made since the beginning of the project, and progress made during the first months of the project.

Issues - International scope

Session 7042, A Global Approach to In-Pack Monitoring, introduces International Standards relevant to sterilization monitoring. Steam sterilization represents 95 percent of all world processes. The critical parameters are time, good quality steam, and temperature. Physical monitors on a sterilizer are generated from one point in the chamber and cannot, therefore, indicate whether all critical parameters have been reached inside each pack. For personnel and patients, it is vital that evidence of these parameters being achieved is available.


Session 7045, Update on Glove-Associated Reactions That Impact OR Staff and Patients, compares three types of reactions associated with wearing gloves--irritant dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis (ie, type IV), and latex allergy (ie, Type I, immediate type hypersensitivity). Additional discussions center around patient complications and how inappropriate implementation of the new hygiene guidelines could adversely affect glove barrier quality.

For more information or to register, visit AORN Online at or contact AORN Customer Service at (800) 755-2676, ext 1.

Donna Watson, RN, MSN, CNOR, ARNP, FNP is president of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.

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