National Time Out Day Reminds Hospitals to Take Time for Safety

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National Time Out Day at St. Mary Medical Center

Dr. Alexander Stein, St. Mary Chief of Surgery; and Karen Matthews, RN, St. Mary Director of Perioperative Services, lead staff in renewing their pledge to patient safety.

St. Mary Medical Center’s PeriOperative Services Department members participated in National Time Out Day on June 13 by renewing their pledge of commitment in writing to follow a step-by-step process to identify, measure and reduce risks, ensuring correct patient, procedure, and site, together with dignity and compassion.

Dr. Alexander Stein, St. Mary Medical Center Chief of Surgery, said, “We once again pause for a moment on National Time Out Day reminding ourselves of our commitment to safety and excellence in the care of all of our patients.” 

To support safe operating room protocol and build greater awareness among surgical team members, the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) launched National Time Out Day in 2004 to remind surgical team members to conduct a time out for every patient, every time.

Surgery “time out” confirms site, patient and procedure. It is the time when the entire surgical team pauses to confirm and agree that the appropriate surgery is about to be performed. According to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, although reporting is not mandatory in most states, some estimates put the national incidence rate, which includes wrong patient, wrong procedure, wrong site, and wrong side surgeries, as high as 40 per week. The data illustrates the important role perioperative nurses can play in speaking up for the patient and promoting safety checks to catch errors before they happen.

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