Infections during joint replacement surgery by Daniela Najdovski: Lessons learned

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Through this posting, I learned about the risk of joint infection during orthopedic surgery and how serious it is. I also learned about the factors that have a profound influence on infection rates. These include sterile draping, personal protective equipment, the role of team members, gloves, and airflow.


            I also learned about the need for a perioperative nurse to give assistance in the form of patient advocacy, in order to reduce high infection rates. The advocacy role of nurses, in this posting, was identified as one that involves communication, protection, provision of care and comfort. The role of perioperative nurses was noted to be very critical especially in situations where the patient is sedated or unconscious. In this case, it was indicated that perioperative nurses should focus on sterile conscience and the aseptic technique in order to minimize and prevent various risk factors that occur during and after the procedure.

            Another important thing that this posting taught me is on what surgical conscience is all about and how it is related to the issue of ethics of aseptic technique. Through this information, the crucial role that nurses play in protecting patients from infections became very clear. Additional details were offered on the design of the operating suite, including the specially designed ventilated systems that prevent infections from getting into the surgery wound.

Moreover, the activities that nurses engage in during surgery were described in great detail, making it easy for me to understand why perioperative nurses, as well as all members of the surgical team, always maintain minimum movement throughout the surgical process. The posting was very enlightening with regard to the precautions that should be taken in order to improve surgical outcomes. These precautions included the reduction of staff members and keeping the door closed at all times unless someone is moving through them in order to bring in surgical equipment.

This posting also made me realize how important it is to wear personal protective equipment. It made me focus on the equipment in a way that I have never done before, especially the role they should be put into during orthopedic surgery. Henceforth, I greatly appreciate the need to wear protective eyewear, face shields, and masks. Previously, I thought that they were only for staff safety; now I realize that they are also meant for reducing the risk of air-borne bacterial infection during surgery.

Finally, the posting enlightened me about the importance of learning more about such aspects of joint replacement surgery as theatre clothing, pre-op shaving and length of surgery, surgical scrub, wound care, antibiotic prophylaxis and sterility of instruments. I also understood some of the situations which, whenever they occur, either through human error or accident, contamination should be considered to have taken place, for example, if drapes become moist.  Now that I have learned all these things, I understand all the infection risk factors for joint replacement surgery better.

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