Surgical Nurses may practice in different types of surgery:
General Surgery (e.g. appendectomy, gallbladder removal)
Vascular Surgery (e.g. varicose vein surgery, aortic aneurysm repair)
Colorectal surgery (e.g. stoma formation)
Surgical Oncology (e.g. breast surgery, tumor resections)
Orthopedic surgery (e.g. knee or hip replacements, fracture repair)
Urological surgery (e.g. prostate surgery)
Day surgery (or ambulatory surgery, where a patient is discharged within 24 hours)
Surgical nurses are responsible for several patients, depending on the nature of the surgical ward. Intensive Care and High-Dependency units usually have one to two nurses per patient.
The Duties of a Surgical Nurse
Preparation of patients for their procedure involves ensuring pre-medication is administered, the patient/guardian has given written consent, the required blood-tests have been done, identification labels and identification bracelets are correct, all allergies have been recorded in the patient's notes and that the patient has been fasted appropriately.
Post-operatively the patient must be closely observed for signs of shock, arrest. The surgical nurse also ensures the wound created by the surgery is intact, and must be knowledgeable in wound care and the care of surgical drains. Surgical Nurses are responsible for the management of pain and post-operative nausea and vomiting, which are common post-operative side effects. The surgical nurse is also responsible for the discharge of the patient and giving the patient information on support systems and measures necessary to their recovery.