Peri Operative Nursing is the care of a patient before, during and after an operation. It has become a highly specialized area because it costs less to care for a patient in this way, and to discharge the patient immediately after the patient is well. Admitting and discharging patients as inpatients costs lots of money. So, perioperative nursing, is become more popular as day procedures etc increase. Also, the occurance of Hospital acquired infections is much less in patients who go through day surgery units.

Definition: Nursing Care given to surgical patients preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively by a Registered Nurse or a delegated professional person.

This is a highly specialized area of nursing in which a Registered Nurse works as a team member of health care professionals. Other health care professionals include the surgeon, anesthetist, scrub nurse, and circulating nurse. As per the definition the peri operative nurse provides care before, during and after the operation.

A peri operative nurse needs to be sensitive and highly skilled in evaluating patient’s needs within strict time constraints and under conflicting pressures.

The Peri operative Nurse(s) have many objectives. These include the planning and directing of nursing care of patients undergoing operative and other invasive procedures. This care is provided in different environments which include health care facilities like hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, and outpatient surgery units.

To achieve these objectives the peri operative Nurse may delegate certain patient care tasks to other suitably trained and competent personnel.

When UAPs (unlicensed assistive personnel) are hired and used according to institutional policy, the Registered Nurse is accountable and must supervise the peri operative care given. The delegation of care must be appropriate – One Registered Nurse cannot reasonably supervise more than three to four UAPs. The UAPs must have the skills to care and seek assistance from the peri operative Nurse when the need arises.

The following are specialized roles of peri operative nurses:

  1. Circulating Nurse.

    The circulating nurse works outside the sterile field. She is responsible for managing all the nursing care of the client in the Operating Room. Additionally, she coordinates the needs of the surgeon’s team with other care givers necessary for completion of surgery.

    She observes the surgery and the patient. She tries to anticipate the surgeon’s needs and patient’s needs. Her main task is to assist the team to create and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for the patient and all employees. Circulating during surgery is a peri operative nursing function. This function cannot be delegated to UAPs. Check national and institutional policies for more accurate information.