Clearing the Air About Surgical Smoke: An Education Program

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Abstract

Evidence of the harmful effects of surgical smoke has been recognized in the literature and by professional organizations for many years, yet surgical smoke continues to pose a safety hazard for patients and perioperative personnel. A team of perioperative nurses and educators sought to improve compliance with policies and procedures for surgical smoke management in the OR. The team quantified smoke-evacuator use, assessed staff members' knowledge using a pre-education survey, and presented a three-part multimodal education program. The team conducted a posteducation survey that showed significant improvement in staff members' knowledge. Ninety-day postimplementation quantitative data showed a 14.6% increase in surgical smoke-evacuation use. This educational initiative increased staff members' awareness about reducing the presence of surgical smoke in the OR and helped ensure a safer environment for patients, staff members, and the surgical team.

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