Nurse Contribution in the Operating Room

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Over the past couple years, a bevy of research and high-level evaluation has been directed towards surgeon’s performance in many quantitative categories. Areas such as on-time starts, case length, readmission rates, and mortality rates usually fall on the surgeon’s shoulders. However, a shift in the paradigm may be widening this narrow focus, as the increase in nursing demand and the need for operating room aptitude has converged with a growing baby boomer population. How important is this to operating outcomes? Read more below to find out.

A recent study conducted by Michigan University School of Nursing “identifies characteristics of high value-add nurses”, and lays an empirical foundation for high-quality patient care. The results of the study were significant in the areas of education level and expertise level, as each was positively correlated to shorter lengths of stay and lower costs. The characteristics identified provide an alternative to traditional hospital and unit-level assessments.

Similarly, another study, based around readmissions and shorter stays, found patient rates drop by 19 percent and 2 percent, respectively, when patients got 80 percent of their care from a bachelor degree nurse. It should be noted that only half of the nursing workforce are BSN-educated, leaving a gap in an already competitive field of employment.

With all that being said, what are your thoughts on this growing area of research? Is this an area in which you are already evaluating? If so, how are you positioning your surgical teams to produce the best possible outcomes? We would love to hear your insight on this topic, as we are committed to achieving and sustaining operational improvement on all levels.

Kevin O'HaraResearchComment