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How theatre nurses make surgery safer

The role of a theatre nurse involves caring for a patient during every phase that comes with having an operation.

This involves care before and after the procedure has taken place, from pre-operative assessments on a patient where the medical history is checked a few weeks before surgery to providing support and care in recovery afterwards. Theatre nurses also have roles during the surgery itself too, such as assisting the anaesthetist, preparing materials needed and liaising with other parts of the hospital.

The role of a theatre nurse includes a lot of different tasks, which help to make surgery much safer for the patient overall.

Theatre nurses carry out preoperative assessments which ensure that the patient is fit and well enough to have surgery in the first instance. They take a medical history and from this can see if there are any problems that they may need to alert the surgeon towards. They may also prepare specialist equipment, devices or drugs that are needed to ensure that everything is at hand during the operation.

In the operation itself, theatre nurses assist surgeons and anaesthetists, ensuring that the welfare and health of the patient is paramount. They are able to get in touch with other members of the hospital at this time to make any arrangements needed or in case of any problems, and allow the anaesthetists and surgeons to focus on the task they are carrying out.

On top of these already important roles, theatre nurses play a big part in helping a patient to recover and get back on their feet. From offering support and reassurance to monitoring their health so an individual can be discharged back to the ward, theatre nurses will work predominantly in hospital operating theatres and in anaesthetic and recovery areas. However, they may also be called upon in wards and clinics if required. It is a role that that requires plenty of care and compassion, as well as an ability to work as part of an extensive surgical team. In order to take a role as a theatre nurse, someone must already be registered as an adult, child, learning disability or mental health nurse, and must undergo specialist training to develop the skills required. This helps to ensure that high levels of surgical safety are always maintained.

It is evident that without theatre nurses; surgery would be a lot more risky. They not only provide assistance, but also support and care to the patient and their role is a lot more than just being there during an operation. It is often the work of theatre nurses that can help a patient to feel more human again post surgery and it is these nurses which can help to prevent any complications or problems during the operation itself.

Their value to the care environment can therefore not be underestimated.

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    Operating department practitioners do all the above in complete harmony with theatre nurses. Today I worked in anaesthetic then recovery room, yesterday I scrubbed in for laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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