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Preadmission Clinic nurses maintain patient safety by preparing patients for surgery

September 22, 2014

Promoting and maintaining patient safety is an integral part of a nurse’s day-to-day work. The nurses in the preadmission clinic at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) work with patients scheduled to undergo surgery to ensure they are prepared and understand their role in making their surgery successful.

“The more prepared a patient is for their surgery and the more aware they are of what they should and should not do beforehand, the better the outcome,” said Karin Irwin, registered nurse in the preadmission clinic, WCH. “We want patients to understand that they are in charge of their health and that we are their partners. By working together, we can make sure that their questions are answered and their concerns are addressed.”

Prior to undergoing a surgical procedure, a patient is required to meet with a nurse from the preadmission clinic to get information about how to prepare for their surgery, what will happen on the day of surgery and what to expect after (otherwise known as the post-op period) surgery.

During the appointment, Irwin or any one of her preadmission colleagues - Kathy Lenarduzzi, Jean Hynes, Maggie Ayow and Meri Cheung - conducts a detailed health assessment of the patient. This includes a review of the patient’s health history, a discussion about current illnesses and conditions they may be dealing with, and a review of all medications and allergies. Through this assessment nurses determine, using predetermined criteria, whether a patient should have an anesthesia or medical consult, or if they need to meet with a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.  They also assess whether a patient needs to undergo tests such as: a blood test, ECG or x-ray, as part of their surgery preparation. 

The preadmission clinic nurses also work one shift per week in the surgical day care unit, where they provide care to patients who have just come out of surgery, as well as follow up with patients who have gone home after a procedure. 

With the work that the clinic’s nurses do, there comes much satisfaction.

“I feel most satisfied when, after the preadmission clinic appointment is over, the patient tells me that they feel reassured, less fearful and better prepared for their surgery,” said Irwin. “Hearing that makes me feel like I’ve done my job and helped reduce their fear of the unknown.”

Preadmission Clinic nurses
From left, Karin Irwin, Jean Hynes and Katherine Lenarduzzi
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