AORN Supports Patient Safety and Accreditation with Release of Comprehensive Surgical Checklist

-New Checklist Combines Recommendations of the Joint Commission and World Health Organization-

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) has developed a comprehensive surgical checklist to help reduce the number of wrong-site surgeries and other preventable mistakes that occur in U.S. operating rooms. The new AORN Comprehensive Surgical Checklist includes the safety checks outlined in the World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist, and also meets the safety checks included in The Joint Commission Universal Protocol that meet the accreditation requirements.

The importance of checklists as safety tools is acknowledged by many industries engaged in complex decision-making, especially healthcare, but according to The Joint Commission wrong site surgery remains the most frequently reported sentinel event. (

Now available on its website at no cost, AORN first distributed the Comprehensive Surgical Checklist at its annual Congress in March to almost 5,000 perioperative professionals, many of them AORN members, who were gathered for a week of education and training. Surgeon, author and checklist advocate Atul Gawande, M.D., MPH, a featured speaker at AORN Congress, helped emphasize the value of the checklist in his advice to attendees. “The checklist is a lowly, humble, misunderstood tool but it contains a set of values. It takes humility . . . teamwork . . . self discipline . . . ambition . . . to make it work,” he said.

It was member feedback that prompted AORN to develop a comprehensive checklist. “Our members were concerned by the need to reference multiple checklists when they were in the middle of a procedure,” said AORN executive director/CEO Linda Groah, RN, MSN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN. “A single checklist that incorporates all the key steps simplifies the process and should reduce the risk of surgical errors.”

The AORN checklist uses color keys to represent the respective practices and recommendations of the WHO, The Joint Commission, and areas where they overlap. In addition, it provides guidance for pre-procedure check-in, sign-in, time out and sign out. It also includes opportunities for open discussion to encourage checklist engagement among all members of the surgical team.

The AORN Comprehensive Surgical Checklist can be downloaded in PDF as well as in a Word document so it can be tailored to a facility’s procedural needs. The Comprehensive Surgical Checklist is valuable to any hospital OR setting, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician practices where any invasive procedures may take place.

About AORN

AORN, Inc., the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, represents approximately 41,000 Registered Nurses in the U.S. and abroad who facilitate the management, teaching and practice of perioperative nursing, or who are enrolled in nursing education or engaged in perioperative research. Its members also include perioperative nurses who work in related business and industry sectors. The AORN mission is to support RNs in achieving optimal outcomes for patients undergoing operative and other invasive procedures. AORN promotes quality patient care by providing its members with education, standards, services and representation. For more information, visit

Comprehensive Surgical Checklist (PDF)
Comprehensive Surgical Checklist (Word doc)


AORN Corporate Communications
Gayle Davis, 303-755-6304, Ext. 225
[email protected]

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