Archive September 2018 XIX, No. 9

Employee Safety: An Exhaustive 3-year Quest for 12 Smoke-Free ORs

Northwest Hospital is the first hospital in Maryland to be completely smoke-free.

Jeannette Sabatini, Associate Editor


Fiery Fighter
Northwest Hospital

Fiery Fighter Debra Kording, BSN, RN, CNOR, the perioperative educator at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, Md., spearheaded her facility's smoke-free movement.
Award Winner

OR Excellence Award Winner

Northwest Hospital, a LifeBridge Health Center in Randallstown, Md., is the first Maryland hospital to be completely smoke-free. Leading the charge was Debra Kording, BSN, RN, CNOR, the perioperative educator who was moved and motivated by the horrid things she learned about surgical smoke from AORN’s Surgical Smoke Tool Kit. For example:

  • Using electrosurgery on 1 gram of tissue is like inhaling the smoke from 6 cigarettes in 15 minutes.
  • Using the CO2 laser on 1 gram of tissue is like inhaling smoke from 3 cigarettes in 15 minutes.

Ms. Kording’s concerns intensified when she thought about all of the smoke she had inhaled over the course of her 30 years as an OR nurse, and all of it the staff at Northwest inhaled, within as well as outside the OR (surgical smoke would drift down to PACU). That smoke, she learned, is filled with particulates, such as carbonized tissue, blood and viruses, and toxic substances such as benzene, toluene and other carcinogenics.

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