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General Surgical and Orthopaedic Nursing Seminar

  • : Brisbane City QLD 4000


General Surgical nursing is a fast-paced area of healthcare that requires nurses to be equipped with the latest knowledge. Achieving outcomes such as reduced length of stays, adequate pain management, and patient satisfaction relies on nurses providing evidence-based care across the surgical pathway. This two day seminar will look at:

  • Preventing surgical site infections
  • Recognising and responding to common post-operative complications early
  • Surgical pharmacology - an update on common medicines
  • Assessing and managing surgical pain
  • Orthopaedic nursing assessment, interventions, and management of complications

Attend this popular and informative seminar. Book now!

Need for Program

General nurses, and those working in surgical units, care for people with a broad range of conditions that require surgical intervention, including orthopaedics. Due to the adverse outcomes associated with preventable errors across the surgical pathway, all nurses must ensure their practice is safe and underpinned by evidence so as to guarantee patient safety and satisfaction.

Purpose of Program

This program updates surgical nurses on current best-practice in regard to several fundamental aspects of surgical and orthopaedic nursing care so as to prevent errors and minimise complications for patients undergoing a range of surgical procedures.

Your Learning Outcomes

  • Apply knowledge of common post-operative complications to identify, prevent and manage a patient who is deteriorating
  • Improve patient outcomes by assessing and managing postoperative pain more effectively
  • Enhanced surgical pharmacology knowledge will assist you to administer appropriate medicines to reduce risks such as post-operative infections and VTE
  • Patients undergoing joint replacement surgery will benefit from improved nursing assessment and education
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Rita Adnams

    The Surgical Journey Starts Here

    If you are not at the table you are on the menu…The nature of surgical practice is rapidly changing and it is important that nurses know what these changes will mean for them. This is not only due to technology but also the increasing co-morbidity of patients. This rapid change places much pressure on the need for attention to risk and safety for patients and nurses. The key issues explored in this first session include:

    • How do we prepare patients for surgery?
    • What are we really ticking on a surgical checklist?
    • What happens after a nurse hands a patient over in the anaesthetic holding bay?
    • What can go wrong in the operating room and why this matters to you?
    • How do delays create a cascade of effects for others?
    • Why great teamwork really matters!

    11:00am - Morning Tea


    Sue de Muelenaere

    Post-operative Nursing Care ‒ Recognising Common Complications Early

    Our ageing population, coupled with modern technology, means that surgical procedures are considered safe and effective for much older people than previously. Nurses working in busy surgical units will testify that they are increasingly required to care for patients with complex co-morbidities who have the potential to rapidly become unwell. Therefore, a huge emphasis is placed on a surgical nurse’s ability to assess changes to the whole person, not just the “surgical site”. How can we recognise early signs that a patient may be deteriorating following surgery? How can we ensure that we are confident in our knowledge and ability to take the necessary action and prevent complications? This session will identify common complications following surgery with a focus on cardiac and respiratory disorders in surgical patients. Topics include:

    • Post-operative confusion and likely causes
    • Atelectasis
    • DVT and Pulmonary embolism
    • Pulmonary edema
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Bleeding
    • Clinical manifestations of the above
    • Investigations e.g. chest x-ray, full blood count and electrolytes that will help determine the problem
    • Appropriate nursing actions

    1:30pm - Lunch and Networking



    Assessing Pain in Surgical Patients

    It is unquestionable that there is a very real expectation of pain following a surgical procedure. The prevalence of acute surgical pain demands that all nurses working in surgical settings understand how to assess pain. Despite this, many patients experience unrelieved pain in the post-operatively period which can lead to preventable complications and impair outcomes. This session goes back to basics and looks at:

    • Pathophysiology of pain - what’s actually happening post-operatively?
    • Breaking down barriers - assessment of pain in patients with cognitive impairment and other communication challenges in the post-operative period
    • Expectations of pain - what amount of pain is reasonably expected and how can I communicate this to patients?
    • Assessment tools and Guidelines recommended by evidence

    3:30pm - Afternoon Tea



    Managing Pain in Surgical Patients

    Evidence suggests that good pain management is intrinsically tied to improved patient outcomes such as reduced de-conditioning, rates of infection and other preventable complications. However, the complex nature of managing pain, particularly in the immediate post-operatively period requires nurses to be well informed. This session will build on the previous session and detail evidence-based nursing management of pain:

    • Interpreting and acting on your assessment findings to ensure optimal pain management
    • Complexities of pain management - tips for getting it right
    • Balancing act - which pharmacological agents are safe for use in an older person and does the type of surgical procedure or anaesthetic effect selection?
    • Non-pharmacological nursing management strategies

    5:00pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Kate Bell

    Fragile Bones ‒ Minimal Trauma Fractures

    A minimal trauma fracture is a fracture that is usually linked to osteoporosis. There may be no obvious cause of the fracture but they can severely impact mobility, pain and activities of daily living, particularly in an older person. This session looks at this under-rated area of concern that has a profound impact on an individual’s quality of life if it is not addressed. Includes:

    • Why does osteoporosis lead to fractures?
    • Minor bumps causing major problems - how common?
    • Why are minimal trauma fractures often “invisible”?
    • Where are the “hot spots”?
    • What does the evidence suggest are the most effective methods of preventing minimal trauma fractures in older people?
    • Stopping the fracture cascade - preventing future fractures

    10:00am - Morning Tea


    Dr Treasure McGuire

    Surgical Pharmacology ‒ Update for Nurses

    Medication management plays a crucial role in meeting patient outcomes along the surgical pathway. From a pre-operative medication risk assessment, to intra-operative medications and medication management post-operative, it is imperative that all nurses have an understating of surgical pharmacology. This session will apply medication management principles in the surgical setting, to:

    • Improve patient care in pre-admission
    • Reduce peri-operative risk for patients with co-morbidities e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease
    • Prevent infection using antibacterial prophylaxis
    • Assess venous thromboembolism risk and align appropriate prophylaxis
    • Risk assess and manage post-operative pain and nausea/vomiting



    Orthopaedic Assessment - Nursing Update

    Orthopaedic assessment is a specialised skill that is applicable in many areas of nursing. Orthopaedic conditions and procedures have a major impact on the patient's biomedical, functional and psychosocial health status. This session includes a review of the following:

    • The prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal disorders in Australia
    • The core principles of an orthopaedic assessment that are applicable to all patients within general clinical areas
    • Recognising orthopaedic emergencies and complications including compartment syndrome and fat embolism

    12:15pm - Lunch and Networking



    Surgical Interventions for the Orthopaedic Patient

    Of the half a million hospitalisations relating to musculoskeletal and connective tissue disease in 2014-15, 65% involved surgery (AIHW, 2015). It is therefore likely that most nurses, not just those who work specifically in this area will encounter patients who require or have previously had joint replacement surgery. As such, this session will look at the indications for common joint replacement surgeries and the fundamentals of post-operative nursing care. Includes:

    • Statistics on joint replacements in Australia - why are they rising?
    • When are the following joint replacement surgeries indicated, an overview of each and evidence on how long are each expected to last:
      • hip
      • knee
      • shoulder
    • What are the causes of joint replacement revisions?
    • Post-operative nursing care for joint replacement surgeries
    • A look at traction (non adhesive skin traction and skeletal traction) and spinal fracture management (e.g halo brace and spinal beds)

    2:15pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee



    VTE Risk Assessment and Reduction - An Orthopaedic Perspective

    All surgical procedures represent a high risk of VTE. Orthopaedic patients are among the most vulnerable due to a range of factors including functional restrictions and prothrombotic processes related to injury. The risk of VTE for orthopaedic patients begins at injury and extends well beyond hospitalisation. The surgeon must balance effective VTE prophylaxis with bleeding risk in this high risk patient group. This final session of day one will discuss:

    • Risk identification and risk reduction strategies from pre-admission to discharge for patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery
    • Recommendations for extended mechanical and chemical prophylaxis in orthopaedic patients
    • The challenges in providing effective VTE prophylaxis in elective orthopaedic surgery and complex trauma

    3:30pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Rita Adnams

    Rita Adnams

    Rita Adnams has many years’ experience in clinical nursing practice in the perioperative area. She works as a perioperative nurse educator at a private hospital in Brisbane. She has also been an academic teaching undergraduate nurses at a university level and during that time completed a research masters, investigating the previous teaching and learning experiences of overseas educated nurses who come to Australia for further study and to gain Australian nurse registration. This research adds to the knowledge bridging the gap between nursing in Australia and their homelands.Recently, Rita has been involved in TAFE content writing and teaching for the diploma of nursing, certificate III in sterilising, and certificate III in health services (perioperative orderly). Rita also enjoys a role as part of a specialist outreach team who provide surgical services to regional indigenous children.

    Sue de Muelenaere

    Sue de Muelenaere

    Sue de Muelenaere is a Registered Nurse with more than 20 years’ experience as a nurse educator. Sue completed a five-year bachelor of nursing degree in South Africa, which included training in psychiatric and community nursing and midwifery. Since then, Sue has worked extensively in the intensive care environment, during which she has presented various courses, including an honour’s degree, a diploma in intensive care, and various short cardiac and ECG courses. Sue also holds an honour’s degree in advanced nursing science (intensive care nursing) and diplomas in nursing education and nursing administration. She was the education manager in a specialised heart hospital where she was responsible for the education of all hospital staff, including non-nursing staff members. Sue is passionate about teaching. She maintains a special interest in all aspects of nursing the critically ill patient.

    Treasure McGuire

    Treasure McGuire

    Dr Treasure McGuire is a medicines information pharmacist, pharmacologist, educator, and researcher. As assistant director of pharmacy, Mater Health Services, she manages their academic practice unit. She is also a senior conjoint lecturer in the School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland and associate professor of pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine, Bond University, where she lectures on complementary medicines, reproductive health, medication safety, and communicable diseases. In recognition of her services to medicines information, she received the Lilly International Fellowship in Hospital Pharmacy and the Bowl of Hygeia of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

    To Be Determined

    To Be Determined


    Naomi O'Rourke

    Naomi O'Rourke

    Naomi O'Rourke is the current Clinical Nurse Consultant for fragility hip fractures at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. She has over 15 years of experience in perioperative nursing, specializing in both orthopaedic and cardiothoracic transplant surgery. Naomi is a qualified Perioperative Nurse Surgeon Assistant (PNSA) and is currently completing her Masters in Nurse Practitioner. Naomi is passionate about the prevention and management of osteoporosis and associated minimal trauma fractures. She has presented at both national and international conferences, promoting and educating about appropriate and timely management of all patients at risk of, or having sustained a fragility fracture.


General Surgical and Orthopaedic Nursing Seminar
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10 Hours | 30 Mins
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End Date
10 Hours | 30 Mins
Brisbane City QLD 4000
Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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