Archive December 2009 X, No. 12

Are Your ORs Smoke Free?

They should be. Here's expert advice to overcome the 3 obstacles you're likely to encounter.

Kay Ball, PhD, RN, CNOR, FAAN


Perioperative nurses experience some respiratory ailments at twice the rate of the general population. That's according to my PhD research and random sampling of AORN members. Consider that inhaling smoke generated from the destruction of a single gram of tissue during electrosurgery is equivalent to smoking 6 cigarettes in 15 minutes. Nurses exposed to surgical plumes have reported eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, excessive coughing, fatigue, skin irritation and increased allergies. The reasons to properly evacuate harmful surgical smoke are obvious, so why don't more nurses and surgeons take the threat of surgical smoke seriously?

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