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Perioperative Nurses’ Week!

  • Perioperative Nurses’ Week is recognized during the week of November 13th-19th 2022. 
  • Perioperative nursing involves nurses who are fully dedicated to working with patients who are undergoing operative or other invasive procedures. 
  • The position of a perioperative nurse offers so many rewards and each one deserves recognition and praise for all the hard work and continued commitment to patient safety that is conducted each day.   

Amy White

RN-MSN – Chief Nursing Officer

October 07, 2022
Simmons University

Perioperative Nurses’ Week!

Perioperative nursing involves nurses who are fully dedicated to working with patients who are undergoing operative or other invasive procedures.  Perioperative nurses work closely with surgeons, nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, and surgical technologists.  The perioperative nurse works closely with patients before (preoperative), during (operative), and after (post-operative) surgical procedures.   

Perioperative nurses have an important responsibility to maintain a sterile environment for the patient and surgical team during any surgical procedure and many times the multiple roles they perform may get overlooked or not fully understood by some.   

It is important to recognize perioperative nurses during perioperative nurses’ week! In order to do so, one must understand the nuances of perioperative nursing such as: 

  • What are the typical duties of a perioperative nurse? 
  • How does perioperative nursing add value to the healthcare sector?   
  • How can organizations show recognition to perioperative nurses during perioperative nurses’ week? 

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Duties of a Perioperative Nurse

As a perioperative nurse, each day can be busy, challenging, intense, and difficult yet rewarding. The following are important duties that a perioperative nurse is responsible for each day: 

Assessing the Patient’s Physical, Psychological, and Social States

All these areas must be assessed and accurately documented before any surgical procedure takes place to ensure the patient’s safety and readiness for the surgical procedure. 

Preparing the Patient for Surgery

Perioperative nurses must ensure that all areas of the patient’s history is complete, blood work has been obtained if needed, consents have been signed, intravenous medications are started as needed, and that all questions have been fully answered.

Implementing Nursing Interventions

The nurse must monitor vital signs, do a complete assessment, and monitor for any changes before, during, and after any type of surgical procedure.

Assisting Patients With Any Fears or Concerns About the Surgery

Many patients have concerns and/or fears about a surgical procedure and the perioperative nurse has a responsibility to provide education to both the patient and family members, answer any questions and/or concerns, and explain what to expect before and after the procedure.  Many times, the patient needs a detailed explanation, and it is important that the perioperative nurse takes the time to perform the necessary tasks to decrease any fears.  

Patient Monitoring

The perioperative nurse plays a crucial role in accurately monitoring the patient’s condition during and after surgery for any complications. If complications or changes in the patient’s condition are noted, it is the nurse’s responsibility to notify the surgeon as soon as possible of the changes for quick and efficient care to be initiated.  

Selecting and Passing Supplies During the Surgery

The nurse performing these duties is sometimes referred to as the “scrub nurse” and assists the surgeon in providing certain instruments/supplies and maintaining the sterile field during the surgical procedure.

Ensuring Pre-Verification Checklist is Accurate

The nurse ensures that all requirements on the pre-verification checklist have been completed.  The verification list typically consists of the following:  patient identification, surgical consent, history and physical examination, surgical site signature, blood specimen, x-ray, anesthesia interview, nurse interview, list of medications, and any allergies or devices.

Value of Perioperative Nursing

There are many roles that are important to perioperative nursing, but the most important one that stands out above all the rest is caring for patients.  The role of caring for patients is easily recognized by patients, fellow colleagues, and others within the health care organization.   

The value of caring for patients is essential and must be primary in any type of nursing career; however, as a perioperative nurse there must be a genuine interest and desire to help patients and their families as they undergo medical and surgical procedures.   

Many fully understand that the essential goal and value of a perioperative nurse is patient care, but often the perioperative practice role that is less evident involves how the perioperative nurse cares for the health care system.   

As a perioperative nurse ensures that quality and safety standards are met, insufficiencies are adequately addressed, and the use of evidence-based practice is promoted, these qualities are equally important to add value to the organization.  While the primary goal is always patient care and safety, the above-mentioned areas allow the health care industry to see firsthand that the roles of a perioperative nurse go beyond patient care and can assist in health care transformation.  

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Recognition of Perioperative Nurses

It is obvious that a perioperative nurse constitutes a special area of nursing that takes knowledge, skills, attention to detail, great communication skills, and positive interactions among patients and their families. 

November is a special time to focus on the dedicated and committed perioperative nurses by recognizing their endless days and hours of hard work during Perioperative Nurses’ Week. Recognizing nurses for their dedication often renews a nurse’s commitment to their profession and offers inspiration and motivation for the nurses to keep giving back to their patients.   

The following are just a few ways to recognize this specialty area of nursing and to allow the nurses to understand how important their commitment is to perioperative nursing: 

  • Allow nurses time to advocate for themselves by resetting and rebalancing their emotional health and well-being 
  • Allow nurses time to advocate for their patients by speaking up if needed in relation to any important surgical procedural concerns 
  • Post a special note on social media (if allowed) celebrating the success of perioperative nurses in a particular setting  
  • Provide a healthy snack or meal to celebrate perioperative nurses 
  • Deliver flowers, candies, and favorite snacks to the perioperative nurses on various days  
  • Post a huge “thank you” banner in the perioperative nurses’ unit 
  • Say “thank you” in person to each perioperative nurse 

perioperative nurses week 2022

The Bottom Line

Perioperative nursing takes dedication, skill, acuity to any changes, sincere compassion and care for others, and emotional stability (as it can be very stressful at times if a surgical procedure does not go as planned and the patient’s life is at stake).   

However, the position of a perioperative nurse offers so many rewards and each one deserves recognition and praise for all the hard work and continued commitment to patient safety that is conducted each and every day.  

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