Above all else, the raison d’être of the perioperative nurse is to maintain surgical asepsis and patient safety. However, despite all current efforts, there is still an unacceptably high number of our patients experiencing preventable adverse events. A recent systematic review found that 20 per cent of surgical patients are harmed during their hospital stay, with 50 per cent of these harms judged as wholly preventable1. This equates to approximately 200 000 Australian patients suffering injury or death each year because of unsafe and poor-quality surgical care.

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