The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses announced Jan. 6 it will push for the implementation in seven states of RN as Circulator legislation.
At least 34 states already have legislative or regulatory language on the RNs role as circulator in hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers or both. Of those states, 23 require a perioperative RN to be present in an operating room throughout each surgical or invasive procedure. According to the AORN, state boards of nursing and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services affirm through public directives, opinions, guidelines or regulations that the circulatory role belongs to the RN.
The seven states in which the AORN will lobby for implementation of similar legislation are Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. The association identified these states through interview-based surveys of hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers by AORN Advocacy leaders.
The AORN, with a membership base of 40,000 RNs, states that perioperative RNs are the primary patient advocates in the operating room and are responsible for monitoring all aspects of the patients condition. Additionally, it says, having an RN in the circulating role throughout a surgical procedure is essential for optimal patient outcomes.
Evidence of the legislations significance is apparent in the recent study on the Future of Nursing by the Institute on Medicine.
While its recommendations to expand the role of nurses in all aspects of healthcare are far-reaching, the underlying premise is the integrity of the registered nurse in their professional and singular focus to improve patient safety, Linda Groah, RN, MSN, CNOR, CNAA, FAAN, executive director and CEO of AORN, said in a news release.
Now is the time to make a clear statement in favor of patient safety for all surgical patients. Hospital CEOs, nurse executives and surgeons need to work with their state organizations to enact RN as Circulator legislation.
The AORN said the RN as Circulator legislation is especially crucial in light of healthcare system changes that emphasize patient safety. More hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers should routinely document the use of RN circulators as part of their patient-safety improvement and oversight efforts, the organization says.
Failure to do so might put at risk the continued use of RN as Circulator as the standard of care established by AORN-recommended practices and Medicares conditions for coverage of hospitals.