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This web site is designed to provide an overview of Perioperative Nursing Data Set (PNDS), a standardized nursing vocabulary that addresses the perioperative patient experience from preadmission until discharge.


Select from one of the following links to learn more about PNDS:

History and Development of PNDS

In 1993, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Board of Directors recognized the need to develop a national computerized database specific for the field of perioperative nursing. The goal was to demonstrate to administrators, financial officers and healthcare policy makers the patient problems that perioperative nurses effectively manage. This was the beginning of a six year commitment to create a perioperative nursing language and database.

A group of expert AORN members was formed to take on the lofty task of developing the standardized nursing language which came to be known as PNDS. AORN has representation of over 40,000 perioperative registered nurses providing professional nursing care in perioperative environments all over the world. The task force formed included expert perioperative clinicians, educators, managers, researchers, and consultants to represent the AORN development team.

Dr. Suzanne Beyea, AORN's Director of Perioperative Research, played an instrumental role in the development of PNDS. It is through her efforts and dedication to the creation of PNDS that it was finalized into practice in 1999. PNDS is the first nursing language developed by a specialty organization to be recognized by the American Nursing Association (ANA) as a data set that is "useful to the practice of nursing".

PNDS utilizes data sets as a defined collection of data elements. An example is "nursing interventions" which represents a data element. PNDS has uniquely structured and defined diagnostic terms, interventions and outcomes with specific codes.

Benefits of PNDS

  • Allow structure of documentation and evaluation of nursing care
  • Allow precise and complete data analysis
  • Allow benchmarking activities among healthcare organizations
  • Allow costing based on activity

Implications for Clinicians

  • Support standardized nursing documentation
  • Provide language for clinical pathways and replication of outcomes
  • Guide the development of policies and procedures
  • Provide language for quality indicators and improvement initiatives
  • Facilitate clinical based research activities
  • Assist in the measurement and evaluation of patient care outcomes
  • Enhance the continuity of patient care

Implications for Managers

  • Develop databases to support the review of resource utilization
  • Support a professional model of practice
  • Provide for consistent documentation and communication
  • Assist with the comparison of clinical data from large patient populations
  • Support databases to help measure clinical outcomes and monitor level of effectiveness
  • Permit evaluation of cost in relationship to quality and effectiveness
  • Offer valid clinical data for decision making and healthcare policy development
  • Support the calculating, managing and reimbursing for costs of clinical and administrative activities in the perioperative setting

AORN Sample Records

The AORN website provides samples of the patient record and the preoperative assessment forms. They can be located at http://aorn.org

The link below is a pdf file which requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader software to be installed. If you choose to download this file to your PDA or Pocket PC, follow the instructions provided on the How to PDA page.

PNDS Reference for PDA or Pocket PC
A more detailed explanation and example of PNDS can be found at the link above. The PNDS example is the copyrighted material of AORN.

Further information on PNDS can be found at the official website http://aorn.org or e-mail requests to pnds@aorn.org. Click on the word references to view those used in the creation of this web page.

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Web page developed by the members of N410-411, Duke University School of Nursing, Summer 2003, under the guidance of Dr. Linda Goodwin. Please send any comments or suggestions regarding this website to the Webmaster