Operating Room staff everywhere exhaled a collective sigh of relief this month as word spread in early morning huddles that the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN) changed their standard guidelines on surgical attire to include head coverings.
Instead of wearing shower cap style disposable bouffants, rumored to be dipped in formaldehyde, staff are now free to wear paper skull caps and tacky cloth bouffants with designs in alignment with upcoming holidays.
Surgical Techs have also reported surgeons everywhere have collectively stopped requesting arbitrary 11 blades to be placed on the surgical field pointing in the direction of AORN Headquarters in Aurora, CO.
Some time before or after 2014, the AORN allegedly released a new standard villifying the use of paper or cloth skull caps during surgery, whilst promoting hideous, disposable, polypropylene bouffants. Upon further investigation, the details surrounding this release remain unclear.
Without comprehensive knowledge of the standard in question, sweeping policy changes were adopted in hospitals nationwide.
All of a sudden disposable paper skull caps started disappearing from the shelves outside off substerile areas and were replaced with bouffants similar to ones worn by jail kitchen staff.
Orthopedic Surgeons documented a surge of work related injuries as staff began to slip on bouffants that had fallen onto the floor. Department educators sustained the most severe injuries from running after Anesthesiologists in their Danskos in an attempt to get them to cover their cloth skull caps with the noxious bouffants.
In 2016, when the back stock of paper skull caps ran out, a Colorectal Surgeon from the Univeristy of Utah demanded answers.
“Why do I have to do a bowel resection in a hat that looks like I’m about to serve meatloaf!?”
This demand was made of a charge nurse busy making lunch assignments who responded sarcastically, “ it probably reduces the risk of surgical site infections (SSIs).”
Following this obscure incident the American College of Surgeons (ACS) launched 1,083 studies on the possible link between head coverings and SSIs. In less than two years 542 of those studies were published and verified by Cochrane. Studies found that disposable bouffants didn’t decrease risk of SSIs and the ACS demanded AORN stop claiming they did.
In 2017 the AORN issued a press release saying: “We actually never said they did.”
In an obvious attempt to circumvent blame, in 2018 the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) tried to resolve the issue by reading the published AORN standard.
The ASA found the AORN made no such claim regarding the link between disposable bouffants decreasing SSI risk.
One Anesthesiologist from Boulder, CO even suggested hospitals get rid of the disposable bouffants altogether due to their impending risk to baby sea turtles.
The ASA even went so far as to collaborate with AORN and the ACS in an effort to amend the standard with the clause “common sense.” Such as, “don’t wear a cotton skull cap that has been left in the back seat of your car where the dog rolls around.”
Subsequent sensical suggestions were met by blank stares as the ASA realized they had just crashed the White Claw party with their Grey Goose & LaCroix. There was a brief pause before Nurses and Surgeons shifted their attention to arguing over preference cards.