11h 15m CPDConference

Preventing Surgical Complications Conference

2 Days – For All Nurses

Preventing Surgical Complications Conference - Brisbane 2019


2 - 3 Dec 2019
Mercure Hotel Brisbane,
85-87 North Quay

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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

Emma Luck

Introducing The Perioperative Environment

The following session will introduce you to the perioperative environment. It will enhance your understanding of the type of procedures that occur when a patient undergoes surgery and key nursing considerations. It includes an overview of high-risk patient cohorts and potential surgical or peri-anaesthesia emergencies, including malignant hypothermia, difficult intubation, and multiple comorbidities. We will discuss:

  • The surgical journey from pre-admission to post-anaesthetic care
  • Considerations for preoperative patient preparation
  • Considerations for patient safety, including informed consent, surgical safety checklist, and why pre-operative fasting is important
Emma Luck

The Ins and Outs of Fluid and Electrolyte Changes

Patients are prone to fluid loss during surgery, whether it be blood or different bodily fluids. This often impacts fluid and electrolyte balance. In patients with chronic comorbidities, imbalances can result in unnecessary adverse events. This session will explain why fluid imbalance occurs postoperatively and when it is necessary for additional fluid therapies or electrolyte replacement to occur. Topics include:

  • How are fluid and electrolytes managed throughout the surgical journey?
  • What are the early indications that a patient may have a fluid and/or electrolyte imbalance?
  • When is it time for intravenous therapy, and what are the various types we can utilise?
  • What are the consequences of prolonged fluid and/or electrolyte imbalance?
  • How do you detect and manage an acute kidney injury?
10:45 Morning Tea

Peta Tauchmann

Managing Diabetes Pre and Postoperatively

Surgical and investigative interventions for people with diabetes can disrupt glycaemic control and contribute to delayed healing and increased morbidity and length of stay. This session will consider the perioperative management of diabetes, including:

  • Risks associated with surgery for people with diabetes?
  • Differences in the perioperative management of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes
    • oral glucose-lowering medicines and non-insulin injectables
    • insulin therapy
  • Acute complications post-surgery
  • Discharge planning – identifying those at risk of poor outcomes and how to support them
Fiona Newman

Anaesthetic Risk!

The types of anaesthetics and the anaesthetic agents used affect the surgical patient’s level of risk and recovery phase. What implications can this have for nurses caring for patients post-operatively? This interactive session will explore:

  • What are the different types of anaesthetics and anaesthetic agents, and when are they used?
  • Are the risks associated with anaesthetics the same across the lifespan?
  • Which factors can have a significant effect on the patient post-anaesthetic?
  • What observations are vital in the first 24 hours post-surgery following anaesthesia?
1:00 Lunch and Networking


Postoperative Respiratory and Cardiac Complications

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 and prevent postoperative complications? This session will identify common complications following surgery with a focus on cardiac and respiratory disorders in surgical patients. Topics include:

  • Clinical manifestations, investigations, and appropriate nursing actions of the following:
    • Atelectasis
    • Acute pulmonary oedema
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Haemorrhage
3:00 Afternoon Tea


Postoperative Stroke – Don’t Miss it!

The risk of a postoperative stroke in a low-risk non-vascular surgery is uncommon. However, if it occurs, it can severely impact the recovery from surgery and have debilitating functional outcomes. This session will look at the unlikely but very possible event of a postoperative stroke and the life-changing consequences that occur. It includes:

  • Why do postoperative strokes occur?
  • Who is more at risk of experiencing a postoperative stroke?
  • What are the different levels of severity?
  • How can you implement strategies to prevent a stroke from occurring postoperatively?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Gillian Ray-Barruel

The ABCs of Preventing CLABSIs

Central venous access devices need to be carefully assessed, managed, and monitored if we are to reduce the risk of complications, such as infection and thrombosis, as well as to promote device longevity. This session reviews the key considerations for the management of venous access devices, including key tips for troubleshooting when things go wrong. It includes:

  • How are the devices selected?
  • What are the common complications during and following insertion?
  • How does good assessment, maintenance, and monitoring prevent thrombosis and CLABSIs?
  • What is the latest evidence for managing safe blood sampling, flushing, medication/fluid administration, and dressing and line changes?
  • Common troubleshooting tips when an occlusion occurs…

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 postoperative period, requires nurses to be well informed. This session will detail the evidence-based nursing management of surgical pain, including:

  • Interpreting and acting on your assessment findings to ensure optimal pain management
  • Complexities of postoperative pain management – tips for getting it right
  • Balancing act – the pharmacological agents that are safe for use in an older person and whether the type of surgical procedure or anaesthetic effects selection
  • Non-pharmacological nursing management strategies
11:00 Morning Tea

Treasure McGuire

Postoperative Medication Complications

Medication complications can occur at any time. In a postoperative environment, the common use of high-risk medications can increase these risks immensely. This session will look into the interactions and potential danger of common medications groups that are administered in a postoperative setting. These include:

  • Anti-infectives
  • Potassium and other electrolytes
  • Narcotics and other sedatives
  • Heparin and other anticoagulants
12:45 Lunch and Networking

Jodie Gordon

Not Always Clear Cut – Preventing Surgical-Site Infections

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

  • Who is more inclined to develop an SSI?
  • What type of strategies can be used to decrease the risk of SSIs?
  • What are alternative ways to promote wound healing after surgery? e.g. nutrition
Helen Truscott

Surviving Sepsis – The Importance of Early Recognition

Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition caused by a whole-of-body inflammatory response to severe infection. Preventing mortality related to sepsis begins with early detection and timely interventions. This session uses case scenarios to explain the pathophysiological mechanisms by which sepsis develops. It will look at how you can detect the early warning signs of sepsis. Finally, it will assist you to understand the evidence-based management of this potentially fatal condition. It includes:

  • What are the new definitions of sepsis?
  • Early recognition – what are the clinical signs of sepsis in adults?
  • What is the increased risk of sepsis in a surgical environment?
3:30 Afternoon Tea

Fiona Newman

When Deterioration Strikes – Great Teams Rise to the Challenge

This final session will look at a low fidelity, high occurrence situation to get you working together. It includes a group exercise to build on your communication and collaboration across the surgical journey to support the provision of comprehensive care. It includes:

  • How do you delegate tasks during an adverse event?
  • How do you promote teamwork and why is it so useful?
  • Why is communication key?
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 collaboration across the surgical journey to support the provision of comprehensive care


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Fiona Newman

Fiona Newman is a registered nurse with a bachelor of nursing, a certificate in anaesthetic nursing,... Read More

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Emma Luck

Emma Luck is a perioperative nurse educator at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in the Metro South He... Read More

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To Be Determined

... Read More

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Peta Tauchmann

Peta Tauchmann has worked as a diabetes educator since 1998. In 2003, she established a private prac... Read More

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Jodie Gordon

Jodie Gordon first embarked on her career as a registered nurse at the Mater Adult, Mothers and Chil... Read More

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Gillian Ray-Barruel

Dr Gillian Ray-Barruel is a leading nursing and ICU researcher who coordinated the OMG Study, which ... Read More

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Treasure McGuire

Dr Treasure McGuire is a medicines information pharmacist, pharmacologist, educator and researcher. ... Read More

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Helen Truscott

Helen Truscott is a registered nurse and midwife with over 25 years’ experience. Working as a consul... Read More


2 - 3 Dec 2019


Mercure Hotel Brisbane
85-87 North Quay
Brisbane QLD,4000


$610.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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