Take a time out before surgery

Published 6:53 pm Saturday, May 28, 2016

To the editor:

For a surgical patient, their family members and friends, a wrong patient, wrong site, or wrong surgical procedure is devastating.

As a perioperative nurse, I am committed to helping reduce surgical errors and improve patient outcomes by taking a time out for every patient, every time.


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By taking a “time out” before operative and other invasive procedures, a requirement of The Joint Commission, surgical team members confirm the patient, the procedure and the surgery. Despite this requirement, The Joint Commission estimates wrong site surgeries occur up to 40 times each week.

That’s why, on National Time Out Day, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers around the country are reminded to evaluate the quality of their operating rooms’ time out process.

Time Out Day was established by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses to support the protocol and build greater awareness for this important pre-op step among surgical team members.
As a proud member of AORN, I want to remind my colleagues in the operating room to recommit to providing each surgical patient with a focused time out with their full and undivided attention.

As a team, we can prevent errors by ensuring effective communications and confirming key information about the patient and the procedure.

Barry McElyea

Virginia Beach