The Association of periOperative Nurses (AORN) started adopting a back-to-basics approach to continuing education and in journal articles. These articles inspired me to adopt this approach to continuing education for the experienced staff nurses that I work with at the medical center. Let me be clear, this is not because of lack of skill or knowledge on their parts, it was to encourage a focus on the basics of what it means to be a safe practitioner in the operating room. In the operating room, the technology that the nurse is responsible for being able to prepare, operate, and troubleshoot is truly amazing. It can be easy for the nurse to get very task focused and to get the basics so engrained in muscle memory that the technology can take center stage. This approach looks to refocus the staff nurses on the basics of what is done and the why behind it, which is patient safety.
Technology, while attempting to improve patient safety, has taken a lot of the art out of nursing. Regulations, policies, and procedures, while attempting to protect patients who are very vulnerable, have taken some of the essence of nursing away from the registered nurse. I see it in a variety of settings, where the nurse talks to the computer instead of engaging the patient or where the nurse responds to a computer alert or monitor sound instead of the patient in the bed. This is where a back-to-basics approach can begin to help, to refocus nurses on the basics of patient care. The nurses at the medical center are amazing and truly do provide excellent care. I hope to be able to help them rediscover the art of nursing since they seem to have the science of nursing down so well.