In perianesthesia nursing, nurses provide support and care for patients who are awakening from anesthesia after surgery. They prepare patients for surgery, monitor them while under anesthesia, and assist the patient in the transition to responsiveness. Many times a perianesthesia nurse will ready a patient to be discharged from the perianesthesia care unit as well.
Perianesthesia nursing takes place in both inpatient and outpatient settings of perianesthesia care units, including freestanding ones, and involves all ages of patients. Sometimes patients can have adverse reactions to anesthesia, causing complications such as compromising respiratory breathing, hypotension, emergence excitement, nausea, vomiting, and pain. Perianesthesia nurses deal with all of these factors in both clinical, managerial, and administrative roles. In clinical roles, a perianesthesia nurse may be a staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist or nurse anesthetist; nurse manager, coordinator, or supervisor in the managerial roles; and a director, executive nurse educator, or research nurse in administration positions.
With a variety of patients and rapid turnover of patients, a perianesthesia nurse must be able to work as part of a team, be flexible, and understand technology. They often times work irregular hours, including holidays and weekends, and often have stress, conflicts, pressure, and lack of patient contact and follow-up. Though a perianesthesia nurse may work in hospitals or free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, they must have good assessment and decision-making skills, stress management, and experience in both medical and critical-care nursing. This includes hands-on skills such as tube insertions, dressing changes, IV therapy, and positioning.
The preoperative and postoperative patient education and nursing interventions focus on the needs of the patient from admission to discharge. Phase I perianesthesia provides specialty care with an emphasis on airway stabilization, hemodynamic monitoring, and pain management during recovery time. Phase II care focuses primarily on the preparatory and learning needs of surgical patients while preparing for surgery and discharge.
If you want to start a career in perianesthesia nursing, you need a nursing degree. Consider an online LPN to BSN degree or an online RN to BSN degree if you’re already a nurse. Otherwise, compare these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
» Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)