Trends And Issues In Today’s Health Care

NRS 440VN Week 4 DQ 2

Research legislation within the last 5 years, on the state or federal level that was created as a result of nurse advocacy. Describe the legislation and what was accomplished. What additional steps need to be taken to continue advocacy for this issue?

Rhode Island became the first state to address the issue of surgical smoke with a law that will require all licensed hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities to use a smoke evacuation system for surgical procedures that generate plume. Hospitals are required to report to the R.I. Department of Health within 90 days that they’ve adopted policies regarding surgical smoke ventilation, the article said. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) spearheaded the law’s passage (2018H-7082, 2018S-2238) in collaboration with the Rhode Island State Nurses Association and provided testimony on the dangers of surgical smoke O’Connor, 2018).

On March 28, 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis took the important step to sign into law a surgical smoke bill that will protect Colorado perioperative nurses and surgical team members from the harmful effects of plume. Following in Rhode Island’s footsteps, Colorado becomes the second state in the nation to require facilities to adopt and implement a policy that prevents human exposure to surgical smoke via the use of a surgical smoke evacuation system. The new law covers all planned surgical procedures likely to generate surgical smoke. AORN’s nurse advocates worked alongside the Colorado Nurses Association and Colorado Hospital Association to educate lawmakers about the need for uniform evacuation procedures to eliminate smoke in Colorado’s operating rooms (AORN, 2019).

AORN first advocated for surgical smoke-free legislation in Colorado in 2018 and took the lessons learned from that effort to ensure success in 2019. AORN perioperative nurse advocates, government affairs staff, and a surgeon champion worked hard to engage stakeholders, broaden the coalition of supporters and get the 2019 bill introduced early in the legislative session. This year’s legislation had the support of the Colorado Hospital Association and the Colorado Nurses Association, helping to pave the way for the bill’s adoption (AORN, 2019).

Like Rhode Island and Colorado, Oregon’s legislature is considering legislation this year that would require facilities to implement surgical smoke evacuation policies in its operating rooms. AORN is working with stakeholders in multiple states to explore similar legislative initiatives in 2020. OSHA’s current guidance on surgical smoke is insufficient to cause consistent use of evacuators in ORs nationwide, and it’s time for states to look closely at the issue as numbers of perioperative nurses suffering from respiratory and other diseases including cancerous tumors of the oropharyngeal tract, as a result of smoke exposure continue to rise (AORN, 2019).


AORN, (2019). Colorado second state to enact surgical smoke evacuation law. AORN Health Policy News. Retrieved from

O’Connor, D.(2018). Rhode Island smoke evacuation legislation becomes law. Outpatient Surgery. Retrieved from–06-07-18