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A devil of a time in Hobart ...

The Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN) held its biannual conference this year in the beautiful Hobart, Tasmania, with a full to capacity attendance.

The release of the latest ACORN standards offered many interesting topics for discussion including fatigue management in the perioperative environment and the introduction of the new terminology of the "aseptic field" instead of the "sterile field", for the now obvious reasoning that once an item is opened and exposed to microorganisms it is considered aseptic and no longer sterile.

In the breakout sessions we were spoilt for choices: exploring hospitals' initiatives in attracting and retaining staff, multi-disciplinary handovers, nursing leadership concepts, and the non-technical skills of the scrub nurse in practice.

There was an international mix of speakers for the main sessions including Professor Jane Reid from the English National Health Service (NHS). Professor Reid offered some messages on patient safety from the United Kingdom and had some very good take home messages about the degree of safety which we tolerate, using the analogy of the speed limits within which we drive. The focus on near misses rather than being reactive when faced with a patient safety concern was something it seemed most nurses could relate to.

The theme also followed on from an interesting talk by Doctor Victoria Steelman, Assistant Professor in Systems and Practice at the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa who looked at the ten top safety issues in health in America including, pressure areas, hypothermia, medication errors, specimen errors, and retained sponges. She introduced a system of using a radio frequency wand over the patient post-operatively to identify retained items, particularly with increased risk patients. The wand apparently has 100 per cent sensitivity.

To wind up on the Friday afternoon there was a very interesting mock trial involving a health and safety incident which resulted in a court hearing. The reenactment was quite uncomfortable at times as the audience related to what it might be like to be sitting in the seat of the witnesses called to be questioned.

On the social side there were plenty of networking opportunities including an organised early morning charity walk around Hobart for the energetic, with proceeds going to Fijian hospital resources. The dinner on the Friday night was a surreal ice kingdom with a very mystical feel.

The room was full of devils and ice queens and kings enjoying the great band and fun company. It was also a great opportunity to meet some new people from various parts of Australia and further afield.

The final day did not slow down and began with our very own Amy Scott who introduced the dots with lots of laughs and hilarity while finding out who we are and why we like things a certain way.

To conclude the conference inspirational speaker Nadine Champion, previous Gold Medalist at the World Cup of Martial Arts, related her lifechanging experiences which have dramatically changed her outlook on life and made her a memorable TED speaker in Sydney 2015. Her take home messages included using your "10 seconds of courage" and she encouraged the audience to "change their thinking" in order to succeed.

It was a great way to finish an excellent conference and I am sure not a dry eye following her talk.

By Tracey Lee, Nurse Consultant, ADHB
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Title Annotation:conference report; Hobart, Tasmania
Author:Lee, Tracey
Publication:The Dissector: Journal of the Perioperative Nurses College of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Geographic Code:8AUTA
Date:Dec 1, 2016
Words:553
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