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Caring for the Postoperative Patient with Complications Presenting to the Emergency Department

Gadler, Tracie RN, MSN, RNFA, NP-C; Gardiner, Anna RN, MSN, CBN, NP-C; Martinez, Nicole RN, MSN, FNP-BC

Section Editor(s): Campo, Theresa M. DNP, APN, NP-C, CEN; Column Editor

Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal: April/June 2014 - Volume 36 - Issue 2 - p 134–144
doi: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000015
Cases of Note

The purpose of the article was to understand that the variations in common surgical procedures, physical, laboratory, and radiographic examinations that are typical in the postoperative patient can help direct treatment options. Nurse practitioners in outpatient settings need to quickly identify and treat postoperative complications. This article discusses three postoperative patients who presented to the emergency department. Data sources included personal health records and review of literature. Various factors that decrease hospital readmission rates include proper discharge education regarding signs and symptoms of infection, importance of medication compliance, and appropriate follow-up care. In addition, the outpatient nurse practitioners' knowledge of the surgical patient and common postoperative ailments will aid in more effective treatment and communication between the nurse practitioner and the surgeon if necessary. Nurse practitioners who have a better understanding of potential postoperative complications will be better equipped to care for this patient population when encountered in a nonsurgical, outpatient setting.

Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, California.

Corresponding Author: Tracie Gadler, RN, MSN, RNFA, NP-C, Scripps Mercy Hospital, 4077 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (

Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.