As we wish Florence Nightingale her 200th birthday this year,
one of the specialties that has been advancing in leaps & bounds since our mate Flo’s era is Perioperative Nursing.
Much of this change has been seen as a result of disaster &
wartime & then continued to be honed throughout the in-between.
This complex area of healthcare is one of the oldest nursing specialties. The perioperative period spans the time between preparation for surgery & anaesthesia through to the recovery of both.
In the late 1800s (Flo's era), surgery was advancing at a rapid pace. Procedures were increasing in complexity & trained qualified assistants were needed to support the surgeon. Nurses were apt to perform this role & advanced clinical practice positions have developed over time.
Unfortunately, as time has progressed nursing education has seen a decrease in the presence of the perioperative specialty in nursing curriculum. This has mostly been due to a side effect of political & societal factors. As a result, many trainee nurses are missing out on exploring this area in theory & practice. This could change with the review of nursing education programs & platforms in the coming years.
Perioperative nursing is based on the philosophy of
- Acknowledging patient dignity
- Promotion of knowledge & skills of all team members via evidence based practice methods in order to achieve positive patient outcomes
- Ensuring a safe physical & mental environment for all concerned
- And one of the most essential roles is being the patient's advocate
A number of staff are required in the perioperative suite to assist in the safe & efficient management of the patient.
Nursing roles in the perioperative setting in Australia include
- Preoperative Patient Assessment Nurse [aka the Preadmission Clinic Nurse]
- Anaesthetic Assistant [performed by an Enrolled or Registered Nurse or an Anaesthetic Technician]
- Instrument Nurse [aka the Scrub Nurse]
- Circulating Nurse [aka the Scout Nurse]
- Post Anaesthetic Care Unit [PACU] Nurse [aka the Recovery Nurse]
Next week, we will look at the role of the perianaesthesia nurse. The realm of perianaesthesia covers the Anaesthetic & PACU Nurse.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Sutherland-Fraser, S., Osborne, S., & Bryant, K. (2016). Chapter 1: Perioperative Nursing. In Hamlin, L., Davies, M., Richardson-Tench, M., & Sutherland-Fraser, S. (2016). Perioperative Nursing: An Introduction. (2nd ed.). Sydney: Elsevier.