National Time Out Day, June 14, 2017 | Joint Commission
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Sunday 10:57 CST, May 20, 2018

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National Time Out Day

June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017


National Time Out Day is an annual awareness campaign through the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and supported by The Joint Commission to increase awareness of safe practices that lead to optimal outcomes for patients undergoing surgery and other invasive procedures.

The time out is a powerful tool that supports a culture of safety and the surgical teams’ ability to speak up for safe practices in the operating room. 

The 2017 National Time Out Day theme is:

Be a Time Out SUPERHERO for patient safety.

Support a safety culture
Use The Joint Commission’s Universal Protocol and AORN Surgical Checklist
Proactively reduce risk in the OR
Effect change in your organization
Reduce harm to patients
Have frank discussions about hazardous situations
Empower others to speak up when a patient is at-risk
Respect others on the surgical team
Openly seek opportunities for improving patient safety

The Joint Commission and AORN encourage health care organizations to commit to conducting a safe, effective time out for every patient surgery every time. While National Time Out Day brings awareness to the importance of taking a time out, it’s critical to recognize that wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-person surgeries are still happening every day in the United States.

The time out is the last line of defense before an adverse event. Every member of the surgical team, from the tech to the nurse to the surgeon, must be fully engaged, fully accountable for following the proper time out procedure, and empowered to speak up if they see something that could result in a wrong-site, wrong-procedure or wrong-person surgery.

Now is a great time to take a look at your current time out procedure and not only celebrate your successes, but identify areas for improvement and encourage continuous compliance with safe surgery practices.

Tools and resources available year-round to support a safe, effective time out include:

The Joint Commission Tools and Resources:

Action Items:

  • Read our column in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons

  • Gain insights from Coleen Smith, RN, MBA, CPHQ, CPPS, director, High Reliability Initiatives, Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, in these articles:

  • Watch videos about the importance of time outs, reducing the risk of wrong site surgery and using the Targeted Solutions Tool for safe surgery:  





AORN Tools and Resources: