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Research Article

The nurse's role in immediate postoperative care.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 07 May 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:1119

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. D S Stephens,
  2. J Boaler


    From the time that a patient leaves the care of the anaesthetist after an operation until he wakes in the ward his physiological state should be continuously and expertly supervised. Postoperative nurses are provided only when the operating theatre has a recovery room. A survey among consultants and nurses in one region showed that many surgical units did not have recovery rooms and that inexperienced ward nurses were often sent to collect patients. The survey showed that most nurses were competent to care for unconscious patients so long as an emergency did not arise. In many hospitals the facilities for the safe nursing of postoperative patients were totally inadequate. The very least that is needed is good communications with the anaesthetist, adequate lighting, and a source of oxygen and suction. Because of the shortage of nurses likely to have to care for postanaesthetic patients early on and to train them accordingly. Nevertheless, recovery nurses, whose sole responsibility is to care for a patient until be has recovered from anaesthesia, should be appointed for all busy surgical units.