June 12, 2019 is National Time Out Day. So tomorrow will be a day dedicated to punishing children who’ve misbehaved or to preemptively punish children by giving them “time outs…” Just kidding. Even if some child does receive a “time out” tomorrow, that’s not what National Time Out Day is about. In hospitals, there is something called the “Universal Protocol.” This Universal Protocol was introduced by the Joint Commission in 2004 and is mandatory. It consists of three components: a pre-procedure verification process, surgical site marking, and a surgical time out. A time out is a pause taken immediately prior to surgery. The time out involves all the immediate members of the surgical procedure team, including the person performing the procedure, the anesthesiologists, the circulation nurses, the operating room technician, and anyone else who will be participating in the procedure. All of the procedure team communicates and agrees on the following: the correct patient identity, the correct site and the procedure that’ll be done. The time out is then documented. Time outs are performed to ensure patient safety, and National Time Out Day is for perioperative team members to reflect on the importance of having a time out prior to every surgery, putting patient safety first. Have a happy National Time Out Day! Here’s what AORN suggests you do to celebrate: “Here are three ways to commemorate Time Out Day in your facility: Celebrate: Take time to acknowledge and thank all the perioperative professionals who, together as a team, ensure this essential component of patient safety takes place. Order a cake, or some cupcakes, and hang up posters in your break rooms. Speak Up: Write to your legislators about the importance of taking a time out for every patient every time and ask them to acknowledge National Time Out Day by issuing the AORN proclamation. Spread the Word: Take a fun photo of your team commemorating Time Out Day and share it on Facebook or Instagram using #AORNTimeOut2019. Your entry could win one of five $100 gift cards (think team pizza party!).”


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