Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Perioperative Nurse Week

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By Nurse Diane

If you have ever had to have surgery, you know it can be a very stressful time.  Just the thought of being "knocked out" and "going under the knife" is enough to send your heart racing.  A friend of mine recently had surgery, having a pacemaker inserted in his heart. While the procedure is a simple one, he was still understandably nervous.  The morning of his surgery, the nurse came to his room, explained the procedure to him, and answered his questions, trying to calm his fears.  Once he was transported to the surgical suite, the scrub nurse welcomed him, positioned him on the table, draped the area to be operated on, cleaned and shaved the area and spoke with him to ease his fears.  Once he was under the anesthesia, the nurses continued to work.  They assist the surgeon by handing him the tools he needs, another takes notes of things that are going on, including vital signs and patient conditions. There is another nurse who keeps count of the supplies being used such as the instruments and gauze pads.  After the surgery is completed, the nurse cleans the wound, applies the dressing, while the nurse who is keeping count of things, goes back to check to make sure that everything that went in the body during the surgery, came back out once the incision was closed. All the while there is the nurse there checking vital signs and making sure that the patient is tolerating the procedure.

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Once the wound is dressed and all instruments and supplies are counted for, the patient is wheeled into the recovery area.  The post op nurse will continue to monitor vital signs and check the dressing to make sure there is no excessive bleeding or any other problems.  When the patient wakes up, the nurse is the first person they see.  Once they have determined that the effects of anesthesia have worn off, and vital signs are good, the patient is returned to their hospital room.  Before the nurse leaves for the day, she returns to the room, explains the procedures that had taken place, answer any questions, and makes a final check on the patient's condition.

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Depending on how many surgeries there scheduled for that day, the nurses can have a very long and hard day, but they take time with each patient to make sure their fears are calm, and their condition is good. My friend was no different.  His procedure went well, the nurses performed their duties like a well-oiled machine, and he was discharged home the next day.

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This week is Perioperative Nurse Week.  If you have recently had surgery, or expecting to have a procedure soon, don't forget to let the nurses involved in your care that you appreciate their commitment to patient care and safety and for making your experience a less stressful one.

1 comment:

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