For Immediate Release March 04, 2020

Members of UM BWMC's OR team. From L to R: Arkaime Kess, RN CNOR, Beverly Young MSN, DNP, RN CNM, and Paula Loane, MSN, RN, PCCN.

UM BWMC has been awarded the Gold Level Go Clear AwardTM by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). This award is national recognition for safety in surgery because we are committed to providing increased surgical patient and health care worker safety. We do this by implementing practices that eliminate smoke caused by the use of lasers and electrosurgery devices during surgery. That means UM BWMC is dedicated to being a surgical smoke-free facility.

Surgical smoke is a hazardous material full of unwanted by-products from the energy-generating devices that are used in 90% of all surgeries. The smoke contains toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, viruses, bacteria, blood and cancer cells. Needless to say, inhalation and absorption of surgical smoke poses serious health risks to patients and surgical staff. In fact, the average daily impact of surgical smoke to the surgical team is equivalent to inhaling up to 27 unfiltered cigarettes! To counteract the dangerous smoke, exhaust machines have been installed and other protocols have been put into place to cut down on emissions and create a smoke-free operating room.

"The OR team at UM BWMC is proud to be taking strides to make our operating room a safer place for our patients and staff. The Go Clear AwardTM is the culmination of efforts of a team that goesOR Team AORN Award above and beyond for our patients and we are proud to be recognized for implementing a safer surgical environment," said Paula Loane, MSN, RN, PCCN. Paula is the Perioperative Education Specialist at UM BWMC who, along with Arkaime Kess, RN CNOR, has been leading the surgical smoke-free program. UM BWMC is only the second hospital in the state to win this award and the first in the University of Maryland Medical System. Our team is being consulted by other hospitals, leading the way to a wider smoke-free community in Maryland.

Beverly A. Young MSN, DNP, RN CNM, Director of Nursing, Perioperative Services said, "We would like to thank the Leadership team in Perioperative Services, Chief of Surgery Dr. Marshall Benjamin, Chief of Anesthesia Dr. Marc Azran, Chief Nursing Officer Cathy Whitaker MS, MSN, RN NEA-BC and Perioperative Operations Manager Trudy Hargett for supporting this evidenced based practice."