How Can a Nurse Practitioner Improve Patient Compliance and Patient Education in a Perioperative Setting?

Jane C. Rothrock, DNSc, RN, CNOR, FAAN


January 07, 2008

Scope of Practice

In a recent article in Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal, Klein offered a stellar review of scope of practice and the nurse practitioner.[9] I urge all APNs to read this robust article with its comprehensive discussion of scope of practice for the APN, including frequently asked questions and answers. As a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), your scope of practice may not include working in the perioperative setting or developing programs such as preoperative and postoperative patient education.

In order to make this determination, you should first identify and reflect on your clinical competence and skill mastery at this point in your career and the knowledge and training you received in your FNP program. Despite your advanced education, it is usually not within the scope of practice for an FNP to work in a perioperative setting as a perioperative APN. That is because your FNP program did not prepare you with the clinical competence to practice perioperative nursing or master the technical acumen necessary for perioperative patient care. Without a sound knowledge base regarding surgical patient care, and clinical rotations with surgical patients, it is difficult for you to validate your educational preparation to develop and perform the activities of a program to improve patient compliance and preoperative/postoperative teaching in the perioperative setting.

However, if you are currently working with a patient population for which you have identified specific educational needs that could be addressed with perioperative teaching, you are in an ideal position to meet those needs through collaboration with a perioperative nurse educator. I suggest that you contact either the hospital's perioperative clinical nurse specialist or educator (possibly a nurse who coordinates education in a preop testing center) to explore opportunities for creative and innovative strategies to address perioperative educational needs in your patients.


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