AORN Blog - The Periop Life

3 Steps to Secure a Time Out Proclamation

A Conversation with Ebony Mitchell, MSN, RN, BSH

3 Steps to Secure an Official Time Out Proclamation

June 9, 2019   

Did you know you can send a letter directly to your city council or state legislature to request a proclamation officially recognizing National Time Out Day?

The process is actually much easier than you might think. You also may be surprised to know how enthusiastic public officials are to support safe surgery.

I first experienced working with state-level legislators a few years ago when the AORN Houston chapter successfully secured a state proclamation for Perioperative Nurses Week.

This year we sent a request for proclamation to recognize National Time Out Day to the Governor of Texas and mayors and legislators in Houston and surrounding cities, and the response has been overwhelming.

We received notice of our approved proclamation one day after submitting our request to the City of Bellaire, Texas and received another proclamation from the City of Pasadena, Texas and Pearland, Texas in the mail just a week after sending our request.

So how did we find this success? We took these three simple steps. If it has worked for us, it can work for your chapter, too!

1. Use a proclamation template and tailor it.

AORN has created a sample proclamation with easy-to-add details to personalize the proclamation to your state and chapter. The template makes it easy when you send it out for approval because your state representative or city official only has to print, sign, and seal the proclamation to make it official.

2. Know the best way to get your request seen.

Many city and state leaders have clearly designated ways to submit proclamations posted on their websites. Make sure to follow their requested instructions for submittal and follow up after you send your request.

3. Craft a concise and convincing letter with your proclamation.

AORN has a template for this, too. Be clear about your specific nursing practice and what you do every day to support safe surgery. Many people, including city and state leaders, do not know exactly what we do behind the double doors, and they are grateful to know how practices such as the Time Out protect patients from harm.

By putting in the energy and time to secure your own official proclamation to recognize National Time Out Day, you create opportunities for conversations with city and state leaders to make them aware of the important work perioperative nurses do every day to keep our patients safe.

After it’s signed, make sure to share the proclamation with your facility leadership and marketing team, as well as AORN Government Affairs. Also feel free to send a copy to your local newspaper and TV stations before June 12 to let them know it’s happened. They can help in the Time Out Day public education, too.

Access AORN’s sample proclamation template and sample letter to your legislator. If you receive a response, be sure to share it with AORN Government Affairs Senior Manager Jennifer Pennock.

Ebony Mitchell, MSN, RN, BSH is president of AORN's Houston chapter.