October 31, 2020

ISNA 2019 Annual Convention Resolution #2: Regarding Surgical Smoke Evacuation Legislation

Lately, I’ve mentioned the two resolutions adopted at the Indiana State Nurses Association (ISNA) Annual Convention on September 20, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Coverage of the first one may be found here. The second pertained to the need for legislation requiring evacuation of surgical smoke. This post will provide some details of the discussion and a brief summary of the resolution itself.

Unlike the first resolution, which was related to firearms and public health, this second one seemed to have been brought before the membership for the first time this year. The actual text of the resolution reads as less thoroughly developed than the first one, perhaps because of the lack of discussion history, which may have stimulated such development.

No executive summary was provided for this resolution. Instead, the text begins with a series of nine “whereas” statements, followed by a two-part resolution. The “whereas” statements are a blend of what were probably intended to serve as logical antecedents and informative statements to set the stage for the dual resolution.

Briefly, these statements present surgical smoke as a problem for operating room nurses due to the prevalence and hazardous properties of surgical smoke, as evidenced by a few details as to the contents of surgical smoke and the health of perioperative nurses compared to the general population.

The two-part resolution commits ISNA to “support and advocate for policy change requiring hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers statewide to implement a policy to evacuate surgical smoke” and to commit resources to advocate for legislation to this effect. No proposed implementation activities were listed, in contrast to the more developed resolution on firearms and public health.

As far as I could tell, the resolution was adopted unanimously by ISNA’s membership and is now part of the policy platform of ISNA PAC.

What are you thoughts on this resolution? What do you see as underlying assumptions? Is the reasoning behind the resolution sound? What would be appropriate implementation activities? Let me know what you think.

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