Access Now: AORN COVID-19 Clinical Support

Archive September 2020 XXI, No. 9

Staffing: Thinking Outside the Blocks

Look beyond your walls for fresh ideas about staff education.

Anjal Pong

Anjal Pong, RN, NPD-BC, MSN, CNOR


Bay Area Perioperative Educators
GROUP MENTALITY Members of the Bay Area Perioperative Educators meet up at the 2019 AORN Expo in Nashville, Tenn.

It's easy to get complacent in the way you run your facility, especially when familiar and effective workplace routines make it easy to fall into the trap of thinking "our way is the only way." If you're not regularly seeking a broad range of perspectives on approaches to patient care and staff education, training and compliance, your efforts are bound to get stale over time.

That's why I'm involved in the Bay Area Perioperative Educators (BAPE), an informal professional networking group for perioperative nurse educators in the San Francisco area that has been meeting at least quarterly since 1984. The group consists of educators from surgery centers and hospitals, and community college instructors of surgical tech and perioperative nursing programs. We spread new ideas and provide rapid responses to questions about standards in practice. The group has proven to be an invaluable asset. Here's how to create a networking group of your own so you can realize the same benefits.

1 Follow the same format

Hold meetings on a quarterly basis at the facilities of members who volunteer to host the group. Before each gathering, finalize a date on which the maximum number of members can attend and send out detailed agendas in advance.

Keep a consistent structure to the meetings. After introductions, ask each attendee to present their facility's current projects, policy changes, and any staffing and education changes or needs they have. Then discuss as a group the latest accreditation survey requirements and relevant changes to AORN Guidelines as well as pressing issues to policies, procedures or regulations that members want to address. End every session by determining when the next meeting will take place and who will host it.

2 Keep it informal

Keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed. For these types of meetings to work, the group has to want to get together on a regular basis. For many of our members, the greatest benefit of the group is the comradery we've developed. As perioperative leaders and educators, we speak our own language. Meeting as a group gives us a chance to share ideas and voice frustrations to peers who understand the pressures of working in surgery. It affords everybody an opportunity to talk openly about those pressures and come up with solutions to common challenges.

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