11h 15m CPDConference

Preventing Surgical Complications Conference

Two-Day Conference for All Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals

Preventing Surgical Complications Conference - Adelaide 2020


West Lakes
12 - 13 Mar 2020
The Lakes Resort Hotel Adelaide,
141 Brebner Drive

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Why Attend

Is all surgery safe? Preventing surgical complications and understanding why things go wrong is fundamental to nursing practice. Attend this conference and learn about:

  • Perioperative risks of undeclared medication
  • Recognising postoperative hypoxaemia and hypoxia
  • Preventing infections from reusable laryngoscopes
  • Perioperative nurse residency programs
  • Effective patient handovers and much, much more...

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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One


Welcome and Introduction

Linda Starr

From Death We Learn

Patient safety is a key priority for health service providers. However, at times, unexpected patient outcomes provide cause for reflection on what happened. A coronial inquiry into an unexpected death is a fact-finding mission that often leads to the identification of issues and recommendations on how to improve patient safety in the future. This session will review some coroner’s cases through a quality improvement lens to identify opportunities for change that will improve patient outcomes through better communication.


Postoperative Hypoxemia and Hypoxia

Postoperative hypoxemia is a complication most commonly seen in older postoperative patients, but it may occur in younger patients. This session will discuss:

  • What are the causes of postoperative hypoxemia?
  • How can we identify risk factors for postoperative hypoxemia?
  • Is postoperative hypoxemia completely preventable?
  • How can we prevent postoperative hypoxemia from becoming hypoxia?
10:45 Morning Tea

Paul McLiesh

Post-Operative Orthopaedic Risks

How confident are you in your ability to recognise and respond to the early signs that a patient may be deteriorating following surgery? How can you ensure that you have the knowledge and ability to take the necessary action to prevent post-operative complications? This session will identify complications following surgery with a focus on orthopaedics. Topics include:

  • Clinical manifestations, investigations, and appropriate nursing actions of orthopaedic complications such as:
    • Blood clots
    • Postoperative infections
    • Allergic reactions
    • Nerve damage

Managing Pain in Surgical Patients

Evidence suggests that good pain management is intrinsically tied to improved patient outcomes such as reduced deconditioning, rates of infection, and other preventable complications. However, the complex nature of managing pain, particularly in the immediate post-operative period, requires nurses to be well-informed. This session will detail the evidence-based nursing management of surgical pain and include:

  • How can you ensure optimal pain management based on interpreting and acting on assessment findings?
  • What challenges do you face when managing pain post-operatively?
  • Balancing act – which pharmacological agents are safe for use in an older person and do the type of surgical procedure or an anaesthetic effect selection?
  • What are some non-pharmacological nursing management strategies?
1:00 Lunch and Networking

Peter Hayball

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
3:00 Afternoon Tea


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 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)
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Margi Moncrieff

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?
Margi Moncrieff

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 to the use of negative pressure wound therapies?
10:45 Morning Tea

Margi Moncrieff

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 who care 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 that can be taken during the surgical patient’s journey to 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?
Norah Bostock

Paralytic Ileus

A severe postoperative complication – paralytic ileus is an ileus that has persisted for more than three days. This session will discuss:

  • What are the signs of paralytic ileus?
  • What is the differential diagnosis for paralytic ileus?
  • Are there additional complications that may result from a paralytic ileus?
  • When is surgery indicated for paralytic ileus?
12:45 Lunch and Networking

Norah Bostock

Urinary Retention

Retention of urine can cause urinary tract infections, which can lead to delirium in postoperative patients. This session will discuss a common postsurgical complication, and discusses:

  • What are the possible causes of postoperative urinary retention (POUR)?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of POUR, and is there a difference with urinary retention caused by other reasons?
  • Are there any nonsurgical treatments for POUR?
Jo Perry

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 and 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?
  • How can these programs help prevent surgical complications?
  • Would a staff retention program be better than a residency program?
3:30 Afternoon Tea

Norah Bostock

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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Linda Starr

Dr Linda Starr has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in general, mental health nursing, law, education and a PhD in legal issues in elder abuse. Linda has extensive experience as an RN in metropolitan and rural locations, in general nursing, mental health, forensic health, aged care and management. She has held senior positions in academia, including the dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Linda has publications in health law and forensic health issues. Linda is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University and a consultant educator in health law and ethics for nurses, midwives and carers. She is chair of the SA Board of Nursing and Midwifery, fellow of the College of Nursing Australia, foundation president of the Australian Forensic Nurses Association, member on the School of Health Academic Advisory Board for Open Colleges and the international member on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Forensic Nursing. Read More

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To Be Determined

 Read More

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Norah Bostock

Norah Bostock is a highly qualified clinician and educator working in private practice in South Australia. Norah draws her considerable experience and expertise from both Australia and overseas. She is considered an expert in her fields of continence, clinical governance, education and training. Norah has been published both nationally and internationally and her qualifications include a master of nursing, TAE cert IV, graduate cert (health), advanced graduate diploma (business management) and advanced graduate diploma (leadership and management). Read More

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Paul McLiesh

Paul McLiesh has worked as an orthopaedic nurse for 23 years at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He is now a lecturer in the School of Nursing at the University of Adelaide where he coordinates the graduate diploma program in orthopaedic nursing and teaches in other courses within the master’s program. He is about to embark on his PhD this year. His clinical areas of interests are VTE prevention, pain management, pressure ulcer prevention, but he is madly passionate about promoting orthopaedic nursing as a speciality and ensuring that orthopaedic patients receive the best care possible. Read More

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Margi Moncrieff

Margi Moncrieff has been working at Flinders Medical Centre in the area of chronic and acute wound management for 30years. In Dec 2005 Margi was endorsed as a Nurse Practitioner and delivers care to in-patients and also manages an outpatient, nurse led wound clinic. She provides regular education to medical students, Doctors and nursing staff, including the wider community. Margi is a committee member of Wounds Australia and in 2011 was awarded life membership. Margi’s personal and professional goal is to make a difference in the lives of individuals with a wound. Read More

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Peter Hayball

Dr Peter Hayball is the principal pharmacist for the South Australian Ambulance Service where his chief role is to assist paramedics of all levels to use the best available medicines in a safe and efficacious fashion. This is done by assisting across the complete medication cycle from selection for pre-hospital use, distribution, storage and use of medicines for patients of the service. Peter plays an active role in educating paramedics on pharmacology, pharmacotherapeutics and related topics, such as recreational drug abuse, toxicology and toxinology. He serves on a range of governance and therapeutic expert advice committees internally and externally, including external bodies such as SA Police, SA Forensics, SA Health and St Johns Ambulance. Read More

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Jo Perry

Mrs Perry completed her Diploma of Applied Science (Nursing) at the South Australian Institute of Technology in the early 1990s. From there, she worked at the Royal Adelaide Hospital as a Graduate Nurse for a year, after that accepting a position at Western Hospital. It was here that she started to gain expertise in Day Surgery, Recovery, High Dependency and Gastroenterology. It was while working here that she finished her BSN degree. She also completed her preceptor course, eventually becoming active in an education role for both registered nurse undergraduate as well as enrolled nurse students. In 1997, Mrs Perry moved to the USA with her husband and worked as a registered nurse in Cardio-pulmonary, Gastroenterology, and Day Surgery. She became board-certified in Gastroenterology. Mrs Perry then went on to study her MSN, starting out at Atlantic State University in the Nurse Practitioner tract. She completed her studies at Marian University with a major in Nursing Education. Since then she has worked a dual role in practice in the Operating Room since 2001, and teaching for Marian University since 2004. Mrs Perry returned to Australia in 2010, and has assumed the coordinator role for the postgraduate and undergraduate perioperative courses at the University of Adelaide. She also maintains clinical hours in the general operating rooms of the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Mrs Perry has taken a secondment to work in Clinical Risk at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital for 2019 in order to broaden clinical perspectives. She is currently working for her PhD completion at the University of Adelaide after completing all-but-dissertaion at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a focus on perioperative nursing experiences. Read More


12 - 13 Mar 2020


The Lakes Resort Hotel Adelaide
141 Brebner Drive
West Lakes SA,5021


$629.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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