Description: MOKE FREE IS THE WAY TO BE!Description of team: A team composed of 3 perioperative nurses saw an opportunity to marginalize on a completely smoke free campus. Preparation and planning: Upon research, “Surgical smoke or surgical plume can be described as the vaporization of substances into a gaseous form and it is the byproduct of surgical devices that are used to destroy tissue.” Examples of these substances are tissue, fluid, and blood. Contents in the vapor can include: formaldehyde, ethanol, methane, carbon monoxide, cyanide, acetaldehyde – a known carcinogen, and over 150 more chemicals and toxic substances. The contents of cigarette smoke can include: methane, methanol, carbon monoxide, and many more carcinogens.
Assessment: If we are making hospitals smoke free, why are we not more concerned with ORs? We have access to all the available resources needed to convert to smoke free ORs. When auditing staff knowledge regarding surgical plume, staff were unaware of the countless dangers they were being exposed to on a daily basis by not having access to smoke evacuators. Implementation: A meeting was scheduled with the Chief Medical Officer/Chief Nursing Officer in an effort to gain leadership support and physician involvement. In an attempt to work toward a solution with hospital administrators, barriers often seen are: a low priority, declination due to costs, unsupported physicians, and decreased awareness of this harmful, toxic substance. Not only employees, but also patients are unaware of their exposure to this caustic environment during surgery. Outcome: A barrier encountered for this improvement project was specifically cost due to financial constraints within the facility. It was mentioned on several occasions that cost was an issue. At what cost will we sacrifice? Financial or health of our clients? Implications for Peri-operative nursing: Finding OR nurses is difficult enough, so do we want to risk driving them away because we can’t afford to give them a healthy environment in which to work? When we have a passion for working in surgery, we should not have to sacrifice our health for our career.