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Celebrating PeriAnesthesia Nurses Week

by BWFH Nurse Director for Perioperative Services Robin M. Kaufman, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, NEA-BC 

This week, February 1-7, 2021, we celebrate PeriAnesthesia Nurse Awareness Week. PeriAnesthesia nurses provide care pre and post anesthesia, for surgery, ambulatory procedures and pain management. The time around a procedure presents distinctive risks and can generate anxiety for patients and their loved ones. PeriAnesthesia practice requires expertise, adaptability, and incisive problem solving and exceptional kindness. This year stretched those abilities and tested them like never before.

COVID sent our staff to deployments in many areas of the hospital outside our usual scope of PeriAnesthesia nursing practice. This included the COVID floors, the swabbing tent, the Emergency Department and the Intensive Care Unit. Others remained in the Perioperative areas and stretched to cover what the remaining patients needed.

As the Spring surge diminished, the work of catching up on surgery for patients delayed by COVID regulations grew. Nurses just back from deployment switched gears again. New practices for ordering, swabbing and monitoring preprocedural COVID tests and caring for patients who were positive or at risk were put in place. Visitor policies and the process for communicating exceptions evolved. Innovation to provide patients and families with excellent care while keeping them out of the hospital whenever possible emerged including telehealth, text messaging PACU discharge.

Amidst all this, our BWFH PeriAnesthesia staff took care of each other, oriented new staff and students, welcomed new Clinical Leaders, learned a host of new skills, had posters accepted at national conferences, developed nursing processes to discharge patients on multiple services who had never been discharged from the PACU before and provided care to Interventional Psychiatry and Cardiology patients alongside those coming out of the Operating Room. This week we embrace the opportunity to share our specialty practice with our nurse colleagues and the rest of the BWFH community. In these exceptional times, we have all stretched beyond what we could have conceived a year ago. This week, we recognize our BWFH PeriAnesthesia nurses, who have risen to the exceptional challenges inherent in our work with courage, and fortitude and even humor.

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