Recycling in the Operating Room: Assessing Understanding through the Perspective of the Anesthesia Provider
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Operating rooms (ORs) are high contributors to toxic waste that pollutes the environment. Alarming trends show increased incidence of chronic diseases resulting from human exposure to toxins and industrial pollutants. Anesthesia providers can help optimize waste management strategies including recycling in the OR. However, little is known about anesthesia providers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding recycling in the OR. The objective of this project was to identify barriers and facilitators to recycling in the OR as perceived by anesthesia providers. The purpose of this project was to address the question, would creating a waste management and recycling program protocol and educational guideline promote acceptance and increased knowledge and understanding regarding the benefit of recycling in the OR compared to the current waste management and recycling practice. Lewin’s three-step model of planned change was utilized as the theoretical framework. This mixed-methods study incorporated an anonymous online survey and two focus group interviews. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents indicated that sustainability should be a key focus for the hospital, yet only 11% indicated that environmental sustainability was included in their formal educational training. A convenience sample of 16 providers attended one of two focus group interviews. Braun and Clark’s (2006) thematic analysis (TA) method was utilized. Themes of Barriers, Awareness, and Championing Best Practice were identified. Findings from the survey and focus group interviews were used to develop policy recommendations and educational guidelines. Further investigation into recycling in the OR is warranted in order to reduce waste and promote public health.