School of Nursing


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Kris Diggins


normothermia, anesthesia, operating room, hypothermia, outcomes




Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are Advanced Practice Providers that provide safe, evidence-based practice to their surgical patients. They not only monitor the vital signs throughout surgery but also strive to improve care and outcome by implementing different measures to keep the patient safe and promote a positive outcome during a stressful time for the surgical patient. To improve outcomes, it has been identified that hypothermia is a common occurrence in the surgical patient, especially in the GYN surgical population at this level one trauma center. Hypothermia is defined as the body’s core temperature less than 36 degrees Celsius. With hypothermia comes a multitude of complications, such as coagulation issues causing increased bleeding during surgery, surgical site infections, prolonged hospital stay, prolonged metabolism of anesthetic drugs causing a delayed recovery from anesthesia, shivering and possible cardiac complications. Hypothermia must be avoided at all costs for the surgical patient to have an optimized outcome. A multidisciplinary approach must be taken to educate the operating room staff, surgeons, circulators, and CRNAs. A specific "Intraoperative Patient Temperature Management” policy must be followed. Educating staff about the negative effects of hypothermia, focusing on the normothermia policy, and identifying barriers hindering the CRNAs' effort in promoting normothermia was implemented and followed thru at this facility. The question remains: "Does strict adherence to normothermia policy in the Operating Room decrease surgical site infections in the GYN surgical patient?" Evaluating the quarterly infectious disease cases in GYN surgical patients can answer this evidence-based practice protocol that improves patient outcomes and minimizes many complications associated with inadvertent hypothermia in the operating room.

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Nursing Commons