Perioperative nursing at Poudre Valley Health System
Perioperative nursing is an exciting field for nurses who have the skills and who enjoy working with patients and surgeons immediately before, during and after a procedure.
Perioperative nursing is one of many opportunities for RNs at Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, and other facilities within Poudre Valley Health System.
What is perioperative nursing?
Perioperative nursing is a specialty focused on care for patients undergoing any type of surgery. Nurses provide care pre-operatively (before), intra-operatively (during) and post-operatively (after surgery).
Fundamental nursing skills are the foundation for perioperative nurses. Their education, however, continues beyond the basic nursing programs. Perioperative classes are available at many different sites throughout the country to prepare nurses for a career in perioperative nursing.
Perioperative nursing encompasses caring for the patient as a whole being, taking into account physiological, psychological, sociocultural and spiritual issues. The perioperative nurse is responsible for patient safety throughout the surgery.
Clinical competency as well as outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills are required.
Nurses working in the perioperative arena:
- Provide patient care before, during, and after surgery
- Ensure patient safety
- Advocate for the best interests of the patient
- Educate/teach patient and family
- Collaborate with members of the surgical team and other health care providers
- Serve as nurse liaisons between the OR and patients' families and friends to provide support and communication
Before surgery (pre-operative)
Nurses caring for patients before and after surgery are also known as perianesthesia nurses. The specialty practice of perianesthesia nursing embraces the care of the surgical patient and family throughout the perianesthesia course.
The pre-anesthesia phase comprises pre-admission and day-of-surgery care of the patient. Interviewing and assessment skills are used to identify possible or actual patient problems prior to surgery.
The perianesthesia nurse prepares the patient for surgery. To learn more, visit the the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses.
During surgery (intra-operative)
During surgery (or intra-operatively) there are two nursing roles providing care to the surgical patient.
The "circulating" nurse is responsible for patient safety during the surgical procedure. The circulating nurse coordinates care of the patient with the surgeon, scrub nurse/tech, and anesthesia provider. The circulating nurse also provides assistance to the surgical team throughout the surgical procedure.
The "scrub" nurse supports the surgeon by passing instruments during the operation while also maintaining patient safety.
To learn more about perioperative nursing roles and certification, visit the Association of Operating Room Nurses.
After surgery (post-operative)
After surgery, a post-anesthesia care nurse will attend the patient in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). These nurses have extensive experience in intensive care nursing, a background that is necessary in caring for patients who have a wide variety of illnesses and surgical procedures.
The post-anesthesia nurse focuses on patient care immediately after surgery is complete.
Basic, life-sustaining needs of the patient are the highest priority. Post-anesthesia nurses also teach patients and families about postoperative care in the home.
For more information about perianesthesia nursing roles and certification, visit the the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses.
Nurses in the perioperative setting at Poudre Valley Health System frequently expand their knowledge through continuing education. For example, the perioperative (surgical) services department at Poudre Valley Hospital holds regular educational offering with updates for staff on patient care, surgical procedures, and new equipment. Our nurses are encouraged to attend local and national conferences and obtain professional certification.
The department also offers perioperative classes for nurses new to surgery.
For more information about nursing opportunities, visit the PVHS jobs page.