The study was initiated to create a better learning environment around diathermy in a department pressured by the economic situation, with cutbacks, time pressure, and demands on higher productivity. The study contains a qualitative pilot study with a hermeneutic and ethical approach, and a clinical follow up study. The pilot study showed that both perioperative nurses and surgeons felt that knowledge about diathermy was given a low priority. The participants requested the need for both theoretic and hands-on learning, to insure a higher knowledge and patient safety when using diathermy in the OR. They also pointed out the need for a more structured and planned learning environment. In the clinical follow up study, the nurse who was responsible for diathermy made an effort to improve the learning environment. One initiative was to make the ways to acquire knowledge easier, so that the nurses would have time to read it in a busy workday. Quick guides on how to use the diathermy were placed on the machines. Another initiative was a workshop for the nurses where they used hands-on learning in small groups and in which they shared experiences and new knowledge. Conclusively, the need for developing a standard learning program for all nurses in the department, to secure patient and staff safety when using diathermy, was acknowledged.
Johanne Hartmann, RN
Perioperative nurse and clinical educator, COP, Frederiksberg Hospital, Denmark, Europe.