The Evolving Role of Perioperative Nurses

By Ruby Hartsell RN, Senior Director Clinical and Training Services, Medline Canada, Corporation

The hospital operating room (OR) has changed tremendously in recent years—from increased robotics and other technologies to supply chain challenges and a greater focus on infection prevention protocols and metrics during and post-COVID-19. Perioperative nurses are at the forefront of managing these changes – helping to keep it all together.

Perioperative nurses are change agents in today’s OR. As conditions and demands evolve, these critical OR roles are at the forefront of enabling better healthcare delivery in an environment under more pressure from underfunding and understaffing.

Today’s ORs are more complex than ever, with new forms of technology coming online, new safety protocols introduced, and nurses retiring or leaving their roles. Surgical procedure backlogs due to COVID-19 and staff shortages contribute to exhaustion and burnout in a demanding role.

With perioperative nurses asked to do so much more today, at an accelerated pace, they need to be adaptive problem solvers who think outside the box while adhering to the disciplined parameters of best practices. Maintaining an efficient and effective OR, with the right supplies and equipment for surgical procedures to ensure patient safety and quality care, requires a high degree of focus and skill.

Managing supplies and equipment and enhancing new product and technology knowledge can consume a lot of nursing staff’s time and energy. Keeping up with advanced programs and solutions is one way to improve OR efficiencies and, in turn, increase the time available to focus on patient needs and best patient outcomes.

Medline is helping ORs to identify broad opportunities and strategies—in operations, infection prevention, workflow, supply handling and management, waste and processes. Through the company’s perioperative supply chain optimization service, Medline conducts assessments that provide a roadmap for improving patient care, outcomes and efficiencies.

In addition, Medline University’s Perioperative Resource Center offers free courses and best practice guidance posters to help busy operating room staff improve efficiencies, promote safety and prevent healthcare-associated infections. Medline also recently introduced nine Patient Safety Microlearning Courses for OR Professionals—short courses providing safety updates on surgical site infections, perioperative hypothermia, perioperative pressure injuries, catheter-associated UTIs, etc.

As the demands on a perioperative nurse's evolving and critical role increase, Medline is focused on helping minimize their challenges and stress so they can focus on patients—the reason they got into perioperative nursing in the first place.

Visit for information on Medline’s perioperative solutions.