Improving Operating Room Efficiency


In an education session at the 2023 Association of the PeriOperative Nurses (AORN), Sheri Voss, MS, RN, CNOR (Emeritus), taught attendees about factors affecting operational performance in the operating room and what can be done about them.

Operating room  (Adobe Stock, unknown)

Operating room

(Adobe Stock, unknown)

Sheri Voss MS, RN, CNOR (Emeritus), associate principal consultant, Products & Healthcare Services, Owens & Minor, at the Association of PeriOperative Nurses (AORN) 2023 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, held from April 1-4, 2023, spoke in an AORN education program about how what is contributing to or hindering operation performance in the operating room [OR] settings.

ICT: Please summarize your AORN education program.

Sheri Voss, MS, RN, CNOR (Emeritus):This accredited education program was designed for perioperative attendees to obtain insights, facts, and evidence-based recommendations that will help improve the efficiency of their operating rooms (ORs). During the session, attendees learned about the factors contributing to or hindering operational performance in the OR setting and actionable improvements that can be applied in their hospitals.

The course was based on the Owens & Minor OR Efficiency Research Report, which examines the relationship between efficient ORs and clinical outcomes. The report’s findings stem from a survey of 250 perioperative leaders conducted by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and commissioned by Owens & Minor presenting quantitative insights on challenges facing OR teams today in areas such as supply chain optimization, staff satisfaction, and shortages, waste, data and analytics, technology integration, and physician preference cards.

ICT: What is the one thing you hope attendees walk away knowing?

SV: Several resources, services, and partner organizations, like Owens & Minor, are available to improve efficiency in the OR, specifically as it relates to supply chain optimization.

ICT: What can perioperative nurses, infection preventionists, and other IPC professionals do to help prevent SSIs and HAIs in the OR?

SV: Safety across every aspect of patient care is a primary goal for perioperative professionals, including preventing surgical site infections (SSIs) and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). AORN has developed guidelines for the safety protocols that govern these practices.

Perioperative nurses are knowledgeable and stay current through continuing education on infection prevention in the operating room. Environmental requirements, sterile techniques, and sterilization practices–for everything from storage, personal protective equipment, and traffic patterns–promote patient safety and positive patient outcomes, including the prevention of SSIs and HAIs.

ICT: What are your overall thoughts on the AORN conference?

SV: Given my long association with AORN, including as past president of the AORN Foundation and a former board member of AORN, I have always enjoyed attending the organization’s annual conference, and this year was no exception. The conference is a fantastic way to learn about topics relevant to the OR, see new products and services, and stay current on the latest trends. The best part of the AORN conference is reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. As a former OR nurse, I love speaking with and listening to attendees discuss the challenges they face in the OR and what they are doing to overcome them.

However, the most gratifying moments for me are when attendees tell me about times that Owens & Minor helped them solve a particular problem. These conversations remind me of why I show up to work every day and the importance of Owens & Minor’s mission to empower our customers to advance health care.

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