Pre-operative nursing responsibilities


HNI_0056-2Any procedure that requires general anaesthesia (GA), needs to be done in an operating theatre. As a nurse, you are required to fill in the pre-op checklist. This is to be sure that standard safety measures have been followed before the patient is transferred to the operating theatre. Basic procedures include taking the ECG and a blood test, including coagulation and CXR.

General hygiene: advising the patient to have a good shower (depending where you work, sometimes antiseptic soap like triclosan is prescribed) the day before surgery is good to minimise post-op infection.

Making sure that the patient knows and understand what will be done to him/her should be part of pre-op preparation too. Usually, you’ll ask whether the anaesthesiologist has been to see her/him to explain the procedure and secure consent.

The surgeon is expected to see the patient before the surgery. Remember, the patient will be sedated, so it’s better for them to know what will happen before this.

Make sure two identity bands are present – one attached to one hand and the other to one leg. When you escort the patient to the operating theatre, make sure you hand over to the receiving nurse, who then checks the patient’s identity and signs the pre-op checklist.

Do you have any experience with surgical mishap that you think could have  been prevented if only this simple pre-op checklist had been followed?

(photo from GMCT,NSW Health)


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