Perioperative nurses tackle a number of physical, mental, and emotional challenges in their daily practice to advocate for their patients and ensure optimal outcomes.


“Taking time out to network with colleagues, update education and explore new OR technologies is an important part of advancing your practice,” says Lisa Spruce, DNP, RN, CNS-CP, CNOR, ACNS, ACNP, FAAN, AORN director of Evidence-Based Perioperative Practice.

Spruce notes that the theme of the 2017 Global Surgical Conference & Expo this April 1–5 in Boston is “Power of You.” She highlights several ways that perioperative nurses who attend the conference can build their network, understand new evidence-based practice recommendations and strengthen their individual practice knowledge.

Grow Your Network

A strong professional network can support a nurse in staying ahead of changing practice demands and continually advancing career trajectory. AORN has arranged several different approaches for nurses to network at the conference. For example, a number of social and education events are designed to give attendees chances to connect with other attendees based on similar practice specialties and professional goals. Social networking events include: the First-Time Attendee Orientation, AORN Foundation Silent Auction and Boston T-Party, as well as fitness and yoga classes.

Two education summits at the conference will bring together experts on specific practice topics. These include:

Global Summit – a one-day event bringing together international perioperative experts to discuss the issues impacting perioperative health care around the world.

Executive Leadership Summit – a two-day event for perioperative leaders to gain new insights and strategies for improving practice compliance, leveraging big data, building a high-performing team, and more.

For attendees who would rather engage in more informal networking events, a new way to get colleague input on a pressing practice issue is through Online Collaboration Boards where attendees can post a tough problem or clinical question that peers and colleagues can then provide suggestions or success stories about. “Surgical Attire” and “Wound Classification” are two of the collaboration board topics for 2017.

Power Your Practice

Five days of break-out education sessions, and other independent learning options provide continuing education credits on important practice topics broken down by key education tracks. These tracks include:

  • Ambulatory
  • Clinical
  • Education
  • Evidence-Based Practice/Research
  • Infection Control/Infection Prevention
  • Informatics
  • Leadership/Management
  • Professional Development
  • Quality
  • Risk Management
  • Simulation

Implementation support for new guidelines released by AORN, including the new guideline on Surgical Smoke Safety, will be discussed and new perspectives on challenging practice issues such as preventing surgical site infections will be addressed.

Spruce encourages attendees to make time for attending these sessions to better understand the evidence supporting the guidelines, which can be an important “conversation-starter” as new practices based on this evidence are implemented in collaboration with frontline nurses.

For those working toward the new Certified Surgical Services Manager certification, specific education opportunities for these nurses is also outlined in the schedule, providing a strong opportunity to gain a number of continuing education credits required for this certification through the conference.

Independent learning opportunities will also be offered through an Education Conference Hub where recorded sessions will be streamed, and more than 300 posters will be presented in person and through an online gallery covering new research, evidence-based practice, and clinical improvements and innovations.

The exhibit hall, perioperative nursing’s largest surgical products tradeshow floor, will provide stay-and-listen workshops and take-home study guides that offer continuing education. Additionally, exhibitors will provide a hands-on learning opportunity to learn about the latest OR technologies, giving attendees a chance to spend more meaningful time with manufacturers who can share insights on optimal use for these technologies. And, this conversation goes both ways, giving attendees opportunities to share concerns and suggestions with OR technology representatives.

Recharge Your Passion

Each day of the conference a general session speaker will provide unique tools for helping perioperative nurses to remember the power within and get the skills to hold on to it through tough workplace challenges. The sessions will give attendees a chance to gain new perspectives and possibly renew their passion for the nursing profession with insights from these speakers:

• Brad Montgomery – A guru on the topic of happiness and personal power for good in the workplace, Montgomery will open the conference with his insights on the science of happiness and the individual power each person has to be happy and spread happiness around them to instill positivity in the workplace.

• General (Retired) Anne Dunwoody As the nation’s first female 4-star general, Dunwoody will share her no-nonsense tactics for achieving professional success and being the kind of leader people want to follow and look up to.

• Marshall Goldsmith – Recognized as THE executive leadership coach, Goldsmith will share the simple questions a person can ask themselves to be better every day, while being more aware of the triggers that can derail a perioperative nurse from personal and professional success.

Know What You Need From the Conference

The trick with making the most of the AORN conference experience is being able to take what you’ve learned, share it with colleagues, and incorporate it into practice. This is something AORN conference planners take into account when planning the conference, largely because they know first hand how important it is to share the evidence and energy from the conference with colleagues, Spruce notes.

She suggests that nurses preparing to attend the conference start looking at their education deficits, identifying their wants for evidence to improve practices, and also connect with colleagues to plan networking opportunities at the conference.

For More Information, visit aorn.org/surgical expo or read AORN’s Conference Blog (www.aorn.org/surgicalexpo/conference-blog ) to get in-depth insight on the conference from those who are planning and presenting.