Accreditation

Is the fight over? AORN to change recommendations in surgical headwear debate

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, September 1, 2018

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 One of the fiercest fights in surgery is about ears. Do you cover them while conducting surgery?

This simple question has fueled a bitter fight ever since The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) officially recommended that bouffant hats be worn in the OR by all surgical team members. Since then, there’s been a back-and-forth of testy statements and unsatisfying studies.

Over the past couple of years, AORN, while still claiming all ears needed to be covered in the OR, has insisted it never explicitly declared that skullcaps should be banned. Then a new study last fall hit bouffant-backers with an uppercut and pushed AORN to reconsider its stance on headwear.

After participating with other healthcare heavy-hitters this winter in a task force that met to discuss recommendations for OR attire, specifically ear and hair covering, AORN expects to make changes to its Guideline for Surgical Attire in 2019.

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