Safety issues in Nursing

Safety issues
Safety issues

Safety issues

Perioperative refers to the practice of surgical procedure where patients experience surgical intervention. Perioperative nurses are tasked with the responsibility of taking care of the patient before, during and after the surgical intervention (Banschbach, 2016). During this time of surgery intervention and care, many safety issues many arise. According to Ford (2012), many safety issues such as emotional, physiological, and socio-cultural safety issues may arise during the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative phases of the surgical intervention because of the negligence of preoperative nurses.

Prior to the surgical procedure, perioperative nurses perform a patient assessment to evaluate the nursing care to be given in the operating room and after the patient returns to the nursing unit, or at home. This involves assessing the social, physical, and emotional needs of a patient. From the information obtained, the perioperative nurse can then predict the suitability of the surgical timing for the patient (Ford, 2012).

However, studies have shown that during this assessment period, perioperative nurses are bound to making social mistakes that result in social safety issues. According to Steelman et al. (2013) perioperative nurses, at the interaction level with the patients, may fail to actively engage the patient’s family members who can furnish important information about the patient that can help in assessing the social and physical needs of the patient and consequently help in determining the care to be provided.

In addition, Robinson (2016) states that sometimes the amount of and length of teaching recommended to a patient by the perioperative nurses is not sufficient enough to prepare the patient psychologically for the surgery type and procedure, leading to psychological safety issue during the intra-operative procedure where the patient can be more anxious and less cooperative.

According to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (2010), the information from pre-operative assessment helps in determining the surgery site and procedure for a patient. However, incorrect or insufficient information obtained from or about the patient can result in perioperative nurses recommending wrong site surgery for the patient, thereby resulting in physiological safety issue during the surgical intervention (Ford, 2012).

Besides, insufficient or inaccurate information from the pre-operative assessment can result in verification errors, scheduling errors, medication error, and patient time-out errors (from the surgical room and out of hospital) (Steelman & Graling, 2013). Thus, wrong or insufficient pre-operative assessment can be a strong basis for physical, emotional, and social safety issues on the part of the perioperative nurses.

Further, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (2010), the information from the pre-operative assessment can be used in settling professional and legal issues concerning the surgical treatment of the patient as it depicts proof of the medical care provided. According to Steelman & Graling (2013), any documents completed by healthcare practitioners during the pre-operative assessment are legal documents and can be demanded by the court during legal proceedings concerning the health care of a patient.

Thus, the pre-operative assessment should be undertaken with utmost care and keenness especially documentations such as pre-scribed medication, health care, and surgical areas.  Ford (2012) adds that pre-operative assessment is part of the professional duty of perioperative nurses to the patients. And as such, accurate assessment and evaluation is a vital part of nursing practice as it forms the basis for efficient and safe care provided to patients.


Banschbach, K. S. (2016). Perioperative nurse leaders and their role in patient safety. AORN Journal, 104(2), 161-164

Ford, A. D. (2012). Advocating for perioperative nursing and patient nursing. Perioperative nursing clinics, 7(4), 425-432

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (2010). Nursing and national competency standards for Registered nurse. Retrieved from:

Robinson, L. N. (2016). Promoting patient safety with perioperative hand-off communication. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 31(3), 245-253

Steelman, M., V. & Graling, P., R. (2013) Top 10 Patient Safety Issues: What More Can We Do? AORN Journal, 97(6), 679-701. Retrieved from:

Steelman, M., V., Graling, P., R., & Perkhounkova, Y. (2013). Priority patient safety issues identified by Perioperative nurses. AORN Journal, 97(4), 402-418

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