Does a critical care nurse change bandages after surgery?

Deb Cordes
Deb Cordes on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Yes, the critical care nurse will change bandages after surgery. During the bandage change the nurse will check for any signs of infection. The nurse will check for the color and amount of any drainage. If the doctor orders medication to the area the nurse can also apply the medication to the area.  
Marianne Biangone

Upon order of the surgeon, the critical care nurse will change bandages (or a dressing) after surgery. In the immediate post-operative period some surgeons prefer to be the first person to remove a surgical dressing. After washing their hands, applying gloves and removing the dressing, the surgical site will be evaluated for:

  • odor
  • color; is it red around the sutures or staples
  • any drainage and if present, what color it is. In the presence of infection the drainage from a wound can be colors from green, yellow to tan depending on the organism.
  • assess wound healing
  • assess for the presence of pain by asking the patient

Once these steps are complete, it is important for the nurse to document their findings in the patient’s record for communication to their primary provider (physician in most cases) and other members of the healthcare team.

Kynthia James
Critical Care Nursing

The critical care nurse will perform all the necessary duties in order to proper care for the patients including changing dressing if ordered by the physician. One the physician has given specific instructions about dressing changes or any other procedures the critical care nurse works to carry out these orders as well as meeting all the client's needs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.