Preoperative Nursing Management


Perioperative nursing describes the wide variety of nursing functions associated with the patient’s surgical management. It has three phases of the surgical experience namely:

  1. Preoperative phase. This phase begins when the decision for surgical intervention is made and ends when the patient is transferred from the operating room.
  2. Intraoperative phase. This phase begins when the patient is admitted or transferred to the surgery department and ends when he or she is admitted to the recovery area.
  3. Postoperative phase. This phase begins with the admission of the patient to the recovery area and ends with a follow-up evaluation in the clinical setting or at home.

Preoperative Phase of the Surgical Experience

The patient who consents to have surgery, particularly surgery that requires a general anesthetic, renders himself dependent on the knowledge, skill, and integrity of the health care team. In accepting this trust, the health care team members have an obligation to make the patient’s welfare their first consideration during the surgical experience.

The scope of activities during the preoperative phase includes the establishment of the patient’s baseline assessment in the clinical setting or at home, carrying out preoperative interview and preparing the patient for the anesthetic to be given and the surgery.

Goals during the Preoperative Phase

Although the physician is responsible for explaining the surgical procedure to the patient, the patient may ask the nurse questions about the surgery. There may be specific learning needs about the surgery that the patient and support persons should know. A nursing care plan and a teaching plan should be carried out. During this phase, emphasis is placed on:

  • Assessing and correcting physiological and psychological problems that may increase surgical risk.
  • Giving the patient and significant others complete learning and teaching guidelines regarding the surgery.
  • Instructing and demonstrating exercises that will benefit the patient postoperatively.
  • Planning for discharge and any projected changes in lifestyle due to the surgery.

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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