SNHMC Earns National Recognition for Safety in Surgery


On Tuesday, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center became the first facility in New England to earn the Go Clear Award.

According to a press release, the award “is presented by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses to recognize healthcare facilities that have committed to providing increased surgical patient and healthcare worker safety by implementing practices that eliminate smoke caused by the use of lasers and electrosurgery devices during surgery.”

“During the implementation phase, we informed the perioperative team about the benefits of the initiative, objectives, timeline and program components. We communicated through staff meetings, emails and unit posters. We introduced education activities, including online modules and face-to-face presentation,” said Audra Burns, director of community relations Audra Burns, adding that, “Surgeons were provided education on equipment and supplies and a product evaluation tool was to determine if the device was effective and acceptable. The tools are available and recommended for any surgical case that produces smoke.”

SNHMC’s achievement in eliminating hazardous smoke from its surgical procedures brings them further along in their efforts to provide increased surgical patient and healthcare worker safety.

“This recognition is important, because it exemplifies our commitment to our patient and staff safety,” said Sharon Paradis BSN, RN, CNOR, operating room clinical teacher at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, adding that, “Patients and staff will no longer be subjected to the hidden dangers of surgical smoke – the byproduct generated from the use of lasers and electrosurgical devices.”

There are toxic chemicals lurking within surgical smoke such as benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, viruses, bacteria, blood and cancer cells, and the inhalation and absorption of surgical smoke poses serious health risks.

According to a press release, “ Studies compare the inhalation of smoke from vaporized human tissue to the smoke created by cigarettes; the average daily impact of surgical smoke to the surgical team is equivalent to inhaling 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes. Today, it is estimated only 50 percent of healthcare workers across the U.S. understand the hazards of smoke exposure.”

SNHMC underwent surgical smoke education and testing, and provided the medical devices and resources necessary to evacuate surgical smoke during all smoke-generating procedures to earn the Go Clear Award.

“Total evacuation needs to become the standard for all procedures that generate surgical smoke,” said Linda Groah, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN, CEO/executive director of AORN, adding that, “With this award, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of its staff and community.”

Burns said some team members will be traveling to New Orleans March 24-28 to the AORN Global Surgical Conference to accept the award.


About AORN
AORN represents the interests of more than 160,000 perioperative nurses by providing nursing education, standards, and practice resources—including the peer-reviewed, monthly publication AORN Journal—to enable optimal outcomes for patients undergoing operative and other invasive procedures. AORN’s 40,000 registered nurse members manage, teach, and practice perioperative nursing, are enrolled in nursing education or are engaged in perioperative research.

Posted: 2/15/2018 by Posted 2/15/2018 Nashua Telegraph by Adam Urquhart