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Orthopedic Nursing: Basics for Effective Patient Care

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Course Description

This course is an introduction to the specialty of orthopedic nursing, which includes study of the care of patients experiencing orthopedic trauma, fractures, total joint arthroplasty, spinal surgery or orthopedic complications. Participants will be able to identify the essential components of a thorough orthopedic-focused assessment for early recognition of complications, describe the breadth of orthopedic injuries and conditions, determine safe patient positioning and mobilization and define essential components for effective orthopedic patient education to achieve positive patient outcomes. The full-day course content is based on orthopedic nursing practice standards and patient teaching implications guided by the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON).

Program Learning Outcomes

This program prepares the learner to:

  • Define the scope of orthopedic injuries/conditions and related evidence-based practice for quality patient care.
  • Identify assessment priorities to promote patient safety and for early prevention and recognition of complications.
  • Describe orthopedic patient responses to injuries/conditions along with effective teamwork, collaboration and education to promote positive patient outcomes.
  • Explore opportunities for professional advancement and certification in orthopedic nursing.


Sign-in begins at 7:30 am. The day includes a one-hour lunch (on your own), as well as a morning and afternoon break of 15 minutes each. The order of lectures presented and break times may vary according to speaker preference.

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

  • Welcome, Review and Overview of Subspecialties
  • Basic Principles of Musculoskeletal System and Nursing Focus in Orthopedic History
    Structures | Growth and Metabolism | Aging | Culture and Dietary Considerations | Basic Nursing Principles | Pain | Assessment Priorities | Diagnostic Tests | Priorities of Care
  • Scope of Conditions
    Common Orthopedic Conditions | Neuromuscular Diseases | Neoplastic Bone Diseases | Inflammatory/Autoimmune Conditions | Degenerative Joint Disease | Metabolic and Other Bone Diseases | Pediatric Orthopedic Conditions
  • Common Injuries and Management
    Strains, Subluxation and Dislocation | Causes and Classifications of Fractures | Bone Healing | Fracture Management | Related Nursing Care
  • Benefits of Total Joint Arthroplasty
    Posterior vs. Anterior Approach | Total Knee Arthroplasty | Other Joint Replacements | Complication of Venous Thromboembolism | New Technologies
  • Casting and Traction to Stabilize Fractures
    Materials | Padding | Cast Care | Traction
  • Safe Mobility
    Transfers | Equipment
  • Implications for Amputation and Related Care
    Causes | Level of Amputation | Patient Care
  • Case Study of Spinal Surgical Implications
    Anatomical Structures | Degenerative Problems | Spinal Fusion Patient Case Study
  • Early Recognition and Rapid Interventions: Complications
    Signs and Symptoms | Diagnostic Tests | Prevention Strategies | Medical/Surgical Nursing Implications
  • Resources for Professional Advancement
    National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses | Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board