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Maria Flynn

, and Dave Mercer

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date: 27 July 2021

When working with people who are having any type of surgery, the primary nursing responsibility is minimizing risk and maintaining patient safety. Nurses should always act within the limits of their knowledge, skills, and competence. All nursing decision-making in relation to surgery is framed by legal and ethical considerations, professional values, and teamwork, and grounded in respectful, appropriate communication skills. Anaesthetics, recovery, and operating departments are specialized areas of nursing practice, but general adult nurses will be involved in preparing people for surgery and in supporting them after their operation until they are discharged from hospital. All organizations will have policies and procedures for surgical safety, and it is incumbent on nurses to operate within local requirements. This chapter describes generic principles of safe surgery and surgical nursing practices.

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