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Article Lays Out Nurses' Role in Safe Handling of Chemotherapy

Perioperative nurses may be in good position to help develop best practices

FRIDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Perioperative nurses can play a crucial role in developing best practices for handling chemotherapy in perioperative practice, and in providing preoperative and postoperative education to patients and their families, according to an article published in the April issue of the AORN Journal.

Ellice Mellinger, R.N., of University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., and colleagues write that there is a need for perioperative nurses and other perioperative personnel to have evidence-based, recommended practices for the safe handling of chemotherapeutic agents in the perioperative setting. They suggest that perioperative nurses are in a good position to partner with oncology professionals to develop best practices.

The authors also recommend various precautions, including identifying the patient appropriately; correctly preparing, verifying and documenting the chemotherapeutic agents; wearing protective equipment; properly transporting and disposing of chemotherapeutic agents; and knowing how to manage a spill.

"Perioperative nurses must remain current with emerging trends in the use of chemotherapy in the perioperative setting. Understanding the potential and real hazards of chemotherapy and remaining competent in safe handling methods allows perioperative nurses to provide appropriate nursing care. Specialized education is necessary, therefore, for nurses and other perioperative personnel who participate in these procedures," the authors write.

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