11h 15m CPDConference

Preventing Surgical Complications Conference

Two Days – For All Nurses

Preventing Surgical Complications Conference - Melbourne 2020


13 - 14 Feb 2020
Oaks on Market,
60 Market St

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Why Attend

Attend this event to ensure you are well-informed about how to prevent a raft of potential surgical complications from occurring. Understand why things go wrong, how to recognise and respond to warning signs early, and how to prevent the need for a patient to return to theatre. Learn about:

  • Fluid and electrolyte changes – why they must not be overlooked
  • Managing acute delirium
  • Causes of cardiac, respiratory and renal complications
  • How to assess for signs of acute stroke
  • Diabetes management before and after surgery
  • Preventing healthcare-associated infections and much, much more...

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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One


Welcome and Introduction

Amanda Wynne

From Death We Learn

This opening session will present postoperative complications that have resulted in death in the hopes that we may learn from them and prevent them from occurring in the future.

Erin Wakefield

Postoperative Hypoxaemia and Hypoxia

Postoperative hypoxaemia is a complication most commonly seen in older postoperative patients, but it may occur in younger patients. This session includes an overview of airway delivery devices (intraoperative and ward) and will discuss:

  • What is the difference between hypoxia and hypoxaemia?
  • Why will a child become hypoxic before an adult?
  • What are the physiological causes of hypoxaemia?
  • How can we identify risk factors for postoperative hypoxaemia?
  • Is postoperative hypoxaemia completely preventable?
  • What nursing interventions can we perform to reduce the patient’s risk of hypoxia?
10:45 Morning Tea

Michelle Bibby

Out of Breath – Surgery-Related Pneumonia

Postoperative pneumonia is a complication that may occur after any surgery, especially emergency or major surgeries. This session will discuss one of the worst postoperative complications in terms of mortality rates and discuss:

  • Are there any surgical procedures that pose a higher risk of postoperative pneumonia?
  • Is it possible that postoperative pneumonia is being counted as a nosocomial infection instead of as a postsurgical complication?
  • How can postoperative pneumonia be effectively prevented?
Michelle Bibby

Not Always Clear Cut – Preventing Surgical Site Infections

There are risks in any type of surgery, and surgical site infections are one of them. They are a costly yet preventable healthcare-associated infection. This session looks at surgical site infections and how they can be prevented. We will consider:

  • The infectious process
  • Modes of transmission
  • Risk factors for surgical site infection
  • Prevention strategies for SSI
1:00 Lunch and Networking


Recovering from an Anaesthetic

The PACU is an area adjacent to the operating room where patients who have had surgery are taken for intensive nursing observation and care while recovering from the anaesthetic. There are many situations that can occur at this time and, therefore, the skills, clinical reasoning abilities and actions of nurses in this area are of paramount importance. This session looks at:

  • Monitoring and managing the physiological effects of the surgical intervention, e.g. postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV)
3:00 Afternoon Tea

Erin Wakefield

Paralytic Ileus and Other Bowel Issues

A severe postoperative complication, a paralytic ileus is an ileus that has persisted for more than three days. This session will discuss the risks and management of some not so common bowel issues, including paralytic ileus, risks of colonoscopy, strangulated hernia and testis and ovary torsion…

  • What are the signs of paralytic ileus?
  • Who is at risk of paralytic ileus?
  • What are the differential diagnoses for paralytic ileus?
  • Are there additional complications that may result from a paralytic ileus?
  • When is surgery indicated for paralytic ileus?
  • What are the major and rare risks of colonoscopies? How will you know?
  • What is a strangulated hernia? What management is required?
  • What is torsion? How will you be able to diagnose it in your patient?
  • What is the difference between an appendicectomy and mesenteric adenitis?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Brennan Fitzpatrick

Perioperative Risks of Undeclared Medication

Sometimes, patients won’t disclose which medications they’re taking, only because it may seem insignificant. This session will explore why a complete medication history is important, especially in the perioperative setting and includes:

  • Prescription medicines
  • Non-prescription/over the counter medication, e.g. aspirin
  • Herbal medicines
Melinda Brooks

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy

Also known as vacuum-assisted closure, negative pressure wound therapy is used to accelerate wound healing. This session will discuss:

  • What are the uses of negative pressure wound therapy?
  • When should negative pressure wound therapy be started?
  • Is this method more effective than other wound healing techniques?
  • Are there any contraindications for the use of negative pressure wound therapies?
11:00 Morning Tea

Melinda Brooks

Pressure Injury – An Intraoperative Risk

The perioperative period has a high level of pressure injury risk for many patients. What are the factors that may contribute to this risk? What does this mean for nurses caring for patients before and after surgery? In this session, we will discuss:

  • What are the conditions that make a surgical patient susceptible to pressure injury?
  • What nursing actions can be taken during the surgical patient’s journey that reduce pressure injury risks?
  • Patient positioning – what are the do’s and don’ts?
  • What is the role of the perioperative nurse in the prevention of pressure injury?
Melinda Brooks

Wound Dehiscence

Postoperative wound dehiscence is a complication that is related to surgical site infections (SSIs) and may prove to be costly in both time and money. This session includes:

  • What are the risk factors for wound dehiscence?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of wound dehiscence?
  • How is wound dehiscence related to SSIs?
  • What can be done to prevent wound dehiscence?
1:30 Lunch and Networking

Erin Wakefield

Urinary Retention

Retention of urine can cause urinary tract infections, which can lead to delirium in postoperative patients. This session will discuss a common post-surgical complication and provide an update on the urinary system, as well as some of the common surgical interventions performed. It includes:

  • How is the urinary system innervated? Why is this important to know postoperatively?
  • What actually happens intraoperatively when a patient has a TURP?
  • What are the risk factors to look out for post-op? (TUR syndrome, retention, clot) and how are these managed?
  • How can you assess for urinary retention (UR)?
  • How does a spinal anaesthetic work, and how might this put the patient at risk of UR?
  • What are the other possible causes of postoperative UR?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of POUR?
  • Are there any nonsurgical treatments for POUR?
Kate Cumming

Perioperative Nurse Residency Programs

Perioperative nurse residency programs are designed to allow nurses who are transitioning into the perioperative nursing role a chance to train in a defined curriculum, with the possibility of being hired as full-time staff at the end of their residency. This session will discuss a concept that is popular abroad. It includes:

  • What are the possible benefits of a perioperative nurse residency program?
  • Is this type of residency already being done in Australia?
  • Are these programs sustainable in the long term?
  • Would a staff retention program be better than a residency program?
3:45 Afternoon Tea

Emily Cannard

Effective Patient Handovers in the Perioperative Setting

This session is an interactive session where effective patient handover methods in the perioperative setting will be discussed.

4:45 Close of Conference and Evaluations

The Goal

Need for Program

There are inherent risks associated with any surgical procedure. Preventing costly surgical complications, such as an unplanned return to theatre or an escalation of care to critical care environments, is a key priority after any procedure. The provision of care that is underpinned by best practice is known to reduce the likelihood of hospital-acquired complications. There is a timely need for nurses to gain key updates on how to detect and respond early to potential surgical complications if patient harm is to be minimised.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this conference is to provide key updates on how to detect and manage potential surgical complications so as to reduce patient harm and improve patient safety.

Your learning outcomes:

Be better able to recognise high-risk individuals before harm occurs
Utilise sharpened assessment skills to assist in responding to signs of clinical deterioration more rapidly
Reduce the pain and discomfort experienced by patients as a result of an unplanned return to theatre
Utilise communication and interprofessional collaboration across the surgical journey to support the provision of comprehensive care


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Kate Cumming

Kate is an experienced nurse with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. She is skilled in vascular, general and trauma surgery, orthopaedic surgery, and healthcare management. Read More

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To Be Determined

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Emily Cannard

Emily has a clinical background as a nurse specialist in the Perioperative setting. She is the clinical support nurse at University Hospital Geelong in the main operating theatres and the gretta volume centre day procedure unit. Emily works collaboratively with the education team and management to provide clinical support and education to new staff as well as established staff members in these areas. Read More

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Brennan Fitzpatrick

Brennan Fitzpatrick is a clinical pharmacist with 10 years experience at Melbourne Health. He has broad experiences including cardiology and critical care but his current role encompasses the provision of clinical pharmacy services to perioperative areas and he’s the team leader for his surgical unit pharmacists. He has a particular interests in anaesthesia and pain management. Brennan recently completed his Masters of Clinical Pharmacy. Read More

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Melinda Brooks

Melinda Brooks has worked in wound management for more than 20 years in a variety of settings from the Victorian Adult Burns Unit to community nursing to research and lecturing in wound care at both Monash and Latrobe Universities. Melinda works in private practice as a nurse practitioner in wound management, following her endorsement in 2013. Her work is mainly in aged care and the community, providing consultancy and education. In 2016, Melinda and two colleagues began 'Wounds R Us' – a collaboration that provides wound management education to clinicians around Melbourne. Melinda has presented at many state and national conferences and thrives on teaching others about the importance of holistic wound management. Melinda is currently a member of the Wounds Australia Education Pillar and committee member of the Wounds Australia national conference 2018. Read More

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Erin Wakefield

Erin Wakefield has recently completed a Master of Nursing via Research. She holds Post Graduate qualifications in Clinical Simulation and Perioperative Nursing. Erin has been a perioperative nurse for over 20 years, and is currently enjoying teaching in the tertiary sector. She has worked in the private, public, remote and metro perioperative settings, and counts as a career highlight working in northern Kenya for Red Cross as a theatre manager. Erin has a true passion for empowering nurses through education. She is a strong advocate for graduate nurses in the perioperative setting, in particular through development of an invested preceptorship team, and creation of a safe learning environment. Her other professional interests include multi-disciplinary simulation, research, and creating a positive learning culture through interactive, hands on and engaging educational initiatives. Read More

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Amanda Wynne

Amanda Wynne is a barrister at the Victorian Bar whose practice includes family law, child abuse, family violence, mental health, health profession disciplinary panels, coronial inquests, victims of crime, and guardianship and administration regarding the elderly. Amanda also holds nursing qualifications and is an experienced general nurse, midwife, and maternal and child health nurse, last practising in May 2009. She regularly presents pertinent legal seminars to the healthcare profession. Read More

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Michelle Bibby

Michelle Bibby is a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in infection prevention and control. She is a principal partner in Infection Prevention Australia, an infection control consulting service. Michelle has previously worked as the Victorian viral hepatitis educator and is now working with many different healthcare sectors through the consulting service. Read More


13 - 14 Feb 2020


Oaks on Market
60 Market St
Melbourne VIC,3000


$629.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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