The perioperative nurse is responsible for ensuring the safety of the patient as well as the surgical team members during the positioning process. Patient positioning that is performed incorrectly can result in patient injury to the respiratory, circulatory, neuromuscular and integumentary systems. Additionally, members of the surgical team may sustain work-related injuries related to moving or lifting patients improperly during the positioning process.
It is important for the perioperative nurse to identify and assess at-risk patients so that an appropriate plan of care is developed, appropriate evidence-based interventions are implemented, and the patient remains free of injury related to improper and prolonged positioning. The perioperative nurse has a duty to the patient to be the patient’s advocate during a surgical procedure when the patient is unable to move themselves, feel pain or discomfort or reposition themselves due to anesthetic effect.