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Applying Florence Nightingale's Theory to Perioperative Nursing

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Perioperative nursing applies to patient care before and after surgeries or intervention procedures. These nurses work closely with surgeons and anesthesiologists to assist them during operative procedures. Cleanliness is the main concept for all perioperative nurses as it is reflected on their hygienic image and this is shown by how the nurse is dressed from head to toe. As per our normal routine at every start of our shifts, it is crucial that we spend five minutes of three cycles of hand scrub with 7.5% betadine solution as we await our cases. I have recently encountered a meconium-stained mother that was brought to the operating theatre for a caesarean section. In this essay, I will discuss how I as a perioperative nurse execute my role to provide holistic care to the patient and how the theory, I have chosen, influenced my work and impacts the life of the patient.

Florence Nightingale was the mother of nursing and she came up with the environment cleanliness and noise. She believed with her past experiences that the environment plays a vital role in assisting the ill patients’ fully recover whilst in the hospital. She also believed that the nurse is in charge of her environment with or without her presence because the other nurses working in the same field should maintain it. The Nightingale theory is mainly utilized in my field of work as we deal with high-risk patients brought in for an operation. This theory is mainly applied in our daily activities and to all perioperative medical staffs whilst at work in the sense that each individual practices hygiene as soon as they enter the hospital, by ensuring our scrubs are clean provided we have had a proper shower and also having to do the three cycles of five-minute hand washing with the betadine solution. I will discuss how this theory was applied to the meconium-stained mother that came in for a caesarean section and how this theory impacts my field of work in treating the patient hence will benefit her recovery in the long term.

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The woman that was brought in for caesarean section was meconium stained and it is a high risk for the mother and the fetus. The environment is kept clean at all times to prevent cross infection for each individual patient that are brought for an operation. The theory emphasizes about keeping the environment clean to prevent the patient from further illness and to also help the patient in recovery, hence I have chosen Nightingale’s theory to my piece of writing as I believe that the patient’s environment doesn’t only include the things around the patient but it also includes the people working around the patient which includes me and my other medical colleagues at the perioperative unit. Hence, the reason I’m emphasizing on how I as a perioperative nurse practice cleanliness in my field of work. The mother was brought in and the first step I took was to do my five minutes of three cycles hand washing and don my personal protective equipment. The mother was made comfortable on the bed and reassurance was provided to her and her husband. Friendly assistance was shown to the mother as a way of showing positive reinforcement to help ease her discomfort and fear therefore, this was my way of applying comfort in this scenario.

The practical application of the theory dictates our daily work in perioperative unit as per the scenario taking into account the six elements of Nightingale’s theory which are ventilation, warmth, cleanliness, light, noise and diet. Firstly, proper ventilation was provided to the mother at the operating theatre through the air-conditioned room and this cold environment was to prevent any bacteria to thrive in the operating room which could cause infection to take place. Secondly, warmth was provided to the mother through the warmer that is put under the covers to warm the mother throughout the operation and warmth was also provided to the baby after it was delivered. Thirdly, cleanliness was provided whereby the operating room is cleaned after every operating procedure to prepare a clean environment for the mother. Before operation, the incision site was thoroughly cleansed with betadine solution to disinfect the incision site. The perineal area was also cleaned with normal saline solution. During the operation, after the baby was delivered, the uterus was thoroughly cleaned to remove all the meconium that had formed a layer in the mother’s uterus and this is to prevent any complication for the mother. After the incision site was sealed, it was cleaned and disinfected before the site was bandaged to prevent any infection to occur in the incision site. Fourthly, efficient lighting was provided in the operating room for us medical staffs to perform the caesarean section more effectively. Fifth, at the perioperative unit there are no noise disturbances to interrupt the patients and also no visitors are allowed which could disturb the mother from resting post- operatively. Sixth, the mother was put on nil by mouth as per all the patients that come to the operating theatre. However, with regards to the diet and nutritional needs of the mother, a dietician will work out the diet plans for her to suite her condition in aiding for tissue repair post operatively.

This was how the practical theory of Nightingale was applied in modern nursing with the case scenario that I had encountered through the perioperative unit. The mother was closely monitored post operatively at the post anesthetic recovery unit for any abnormal vital signs which could mean internal bleeding or infection. However, the mother did not show any abnormal vital signs hence she was transferred to the post-natal ward thereafter.

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Applying Florence Nightingale’s Theory to Perioperative Nursing. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
“Applying Florence Nightingale’s Theory to Perioperative Nursing.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
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