Taking a “time out” to confirm correct patients, correct procedures, correct surgical sites and other important information before every operative and other invasive procedure is a requirement of the Joint Commission Universal Protocol. Despite the requirement, 40-60 wrong site surgeries likely occur in the United States each week.
Time Out Day was created by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses to raise awareness about the importance of requiring surgical teams to pause before invasive procedures to communicate and confirm key information about the patient and procedure to help prevent errors.
Wrong patients, sites and procedures are sentinel events – described by the commission as “an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof.” To nurses, they are tragedies.
As a perioperative nurse and AORN member, I commemorate National Time Out Day with this public commitment to my patients, their loved ones and the entire surgical community – to always take time out for every patient, every time.
Anne Gadia, C.N.O.R.
(The writer submitted this letter on behalf of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia’s operating room nurses.)