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Guide to AORN – The OR of the Future is Here: Get ready

The AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo will be in Nashville, April 6-11. Education is always a huge part of the conference. This year more than 200 contact hours are available from world-renowned perioperative experts delivered in a variety of formats to fit each individual’s learning style.

The move in perioperative care toward minimally invasive surgery with the promise of patients experiencing less pain and faster recoveries is on a fast track to becoming the norm for surgical care. At the same time, new information technologies are being developed to help surgeons tap into data that can improve the delivery of patient care through the perioperative phases.

These trends in perioperative practice and technology are rapidly redefining perioperative care and OR spaces, and nurses must be ready. That’s why AORN has developed, in partnership with industry, a fully functioning OR of the future for the upcoming Global Surgical Conference & Expo.

High-Tech = High-Touch Nursing Care

Imagine working in an OR space where prepping for a case involves moving walls, setting integrated imaging modalities, and engaging machine learning and predictive analytics tools in one hybrid space.

This hybrid care environment offers highly advanced and highly adaptable spaces to optimize all aspects of patient care, including the ability to diagnose and treat a surgical patient in the same space. However, many of these technologies add complexity to an already complex environment and nurses play a key role in advocating for their patients amidst this complexity, notes AORN CEO and Executive Director Linda Groah, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN.

“Working in this type of integrated, hybrid OR space is a reality for a growing number of perioperative nurses, and it will soon be a reality for many other perioperative nurses as this trend toward hybrid ORs is projected to become the standard of perioperative care,” Groah says. “Perioperative nurses need to be at the forefront of adapting patient care in a hybrid OR environment and offering high-touch care that supports patients and families to ensure the human factor remains at the center of perioperative nursing.”

To do this, perioperative nurses must be familiar with the wide range of technologies that are used in the hybrid OR of the future and the AORN Global Surgical Conference and Expo in Nashville this Spring will give nurses hands-on experience with these hybrid OR technologies, Groah says.

“Having the chance to learn about and work with these technologies at AORN’s Expo will give perioperative nurses a good opportunity to gain familiarity with these technologies so they will be better able to work and advocate for patients in a hybrid OR setting,” she says.

Experiencing the OR of the Future

Getting a chance to explore the latest technologies being adopted into surgical care has always been a highlight of visiting AORN’s exhibit hall at the association’s annual meeting. This year, a focus on the OR of the future will be woven throughout the exhibit floor. Nurses will be able to walk through a complete hybrid OR surgical suite to get more familiar with a range of technologies and products unique to the OR of the future, including:

  • a mobile OR table and a fixed OR table that supports extreme positioning
  • top-of-the-line sterile supply management and traceability
  • image integration and distribution equipment
  • modular wall and ceiling structures
  • consumables tailored to hybrid OR use
  • fluid warming devices that mount to walls or counters
  • advanced designed blanket warming technology
  • lights and booms designed for hybrid OR use and
  • 3-D scanning technology

A roadmap to the OR of the future will also be provided to help attendees explore other vendor booths throughout the exhibit hall with products used in a hybrid OR.

Finding Harmony in the OR of the Future

With a focus on the future of surgical advances, a central theme woven throughout AORN’s annual conference will be harmonizing surgical care.

This theme will be addressed through a wide range of educational programming offered at the meeting. Harmony will span education topics ranging from the topics of self-care, as well as interpersonal communication and collaboration among team members to stay connected. A clear understanding of the latest evidence (which also continues to emerge at a rapid pace) will also be a key focus at the conference, according to AORN President Stephanie Davis, MSHA, RN, CNOR, CSSM.

“Harmonized care is the essential factor in providing safe care,” Davis stresses. “We know what harmony feels like in the OR when we are working with the ‘A’ team of nurses, physicians and other team members who communicate well, work in sync, and respect and value each other’s roles.”

With a constant struggle to balance efficiency and safety under time constraints in busy ORs, Davis also says team collaboration in using safety tools such as a surgical safety checklist, and taking time for surgical communications, including the briefing, time out and debriefing are important aspects of harmonized care that will only become more important as OR technologies continue to advance.

She says the key to achieving harmonized care is by advancing nursing knowledge to understand and apply the latest evidence for safe practice, even if it goes against what has been a longstanding practice.

“Knowledge is our single most important tool in providing safe patient care and advocating for our patients, no matter what surgical environment we work in,” Davis says.

The AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo will be in Nashville, April 6-11. Education is always a huge part of the conference. This year more than 200 contact hours are available from world-renowned perioperative experts delivered in a variety of formats to fit each individual’s learning style. Educational options include:

  • Expo Education: Earn contact hours as you explore exhibits for the latest products and services. A list of exhibitors with booth education is on the conference website.
  • Rapid Fire: It will be easy to stay engaged at these fast-paced presentations. Sessions will consist of multiple speakers presenting on the same topic but with different angles.
  • Simulation Experiences: Get hands-on training on hot topics like safe patient handling.
  • Posters: See how your peers are changing perioperative practice. Explore hundreds of presentations and participate in an expanded meet and greet with the poster authors. Earn CE at the conference or when you return home by viewing posters online.
  • Global Research & Practice Studies: Researchers representing perioperative teams worldwide will discuss the latest research outcomes and evidence-based practices. Sessions will take place in intimate environments to encourage easy discussion.
  • Interactive Buzz Sessions: Meet with other attendees in a relaxed environment to share best practices, insights and tips. Expert facilitators will begin each session with a scenario. Attendees will be asked to discuss amongst their peers to identify a solution.
  • Collaboration Boards: We learn best when we work together to solve problems. Post a tough problem and clinical questions on the conference app to get suggestions from conference colleagues.
  • Featured Speakers: Get ready to laugh, learn and be inspired by world-renowned speakers..
  • Student Nurses Program: Interested in learning more about perioperative nursing? Make plans to attend a special, interactive workshop for student nurses on April 9.
  • Faculty Program: Attend this one-day program designed for nursing faculty.
  • 45-Day Streaming Pass: Can’t make it to a session? Listen to a recording through AORN’s on-demand streaming service, available for up to 45 days after the conference.

For more information, visit

  • Action Products, Inc. – Booth 714: Action Products, Inc. manufactures the full range of ACTION brand support surfaces and patient positioning devices for pressure injury prevention, including pediatric and bariatric sizes. Products feature exclusive AKTON polymer gel.
  • BD – Booth 324: BD is a global medical technology company advancing health by improving discovery, diagnostics and care delivery. Our innovative product portfolio, leadership and partnerships help make a difference for global healthcare.
  • C Change Surgical – Booth: 639: SurgiSLUSH™ is the fastest growing slush technology in the US. Our smart freezers use a secure container system to produce optimal slush inside a superior sterile barrier. Supplying MORE procedures with FEWER machines = SMART. Perfect for Hybrid.
  • Cygnus Medical- Booth 640: Cygnus Medical has developed several innovative products that target some of the surgical instrument handling problems that plague hospitals. The Single Cycle Tray, the first disposable, sterilizable transport tray for clean and soiled instruments.
  • Diversey – Booth 2600: Diversey provides total solutions for cleaning & disinfection, enhancing safety and improving OR turnover speed, while controlling costs. We offer leading infection prevention solutions, along with innovative productivity tools, and training.
  • Healthmark Industries – Booth 816: Healthmark offers infection control solutions and tools to manage the proper reprocessing of surgical instruments in compliance with AORN and AAMI guidelines. Come see our new custom printed disposable scrub hats and bouffants.
  • Innovative Medical Products, Inc. – Booth – 2209: IMP is focused on developing and marketing innovative patient positioning products to benefit and improve efficiency in the operating room and hospital clinics especially during robotic procedures where patient stability and positioning are required.
  • Kapp Surgical Instrument Inc. – Booth 2035: Kapp Surgical Instrument, a custom instrument design company that manufactures and distributes domestically and internationally. Kapp’s exclusive products are: The Cosgrove® Valve Retractor System, and Strip T’s® surgical organizer.
  • Materials Mgmt Microsytems – Booth 1546: Microsystems delivers software solutions for managing the demands of the modern sterile processing department. The portfolio of products address all aspects of the sterile processing function.
  • Mobile Instrument Service & Repair Inc. – Booth 916 Mobile Instrument Service is the nationwide complete source for surgical equipment repair. As your care and repair partner, Mobile’s commitment to you is to reduce equipment costs and improve outcomes by ensuring your equipment is ready for the O.R.
  • OR TODAY – Booth 2535: For nearly 20 years OR Today has provided periop professionals with news and information about their profession. Stop by our booth to sign-up for your free subscription and learn how to earn FREE CEUs with our monthly webinar series!
  • The Ruhof Corporation – Booth 1300: Ruhof has a full line of surgical instrument and scope care and cleaning products to help you meet and exceed your decontamination challenges. Products include our multi-tiered enzymatic detergents, foam sprays, sponges, endoscopy kits and more.



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