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California Nurses and Sutures

by bbme bbme (New) New

Hello.  I am hoping someone can help with information on the nurses scope in California, specifically with regulations regarding sutures.  

Simple question: Can California nurses place sutures? 

Complex question: I know the Nurse Practice Act of California established that the state create rules and regulations around nursing practice.  Most of those laws are in the Business and Professions Code Division 2. Healing Arts Chapter 6. Nursing.  Reading this (as best I can) I cannot find anything that says California RN's can or cannot place sutures.  

links: https://www.RN.ca.gov/practice/npa.shtml

Is anyone able to tell, ideally with references or resources, if a nurse in California can place sutures? 

Thanks for your time. 


juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 29 years experience.

I work in a hospital in California and have not encountered nurses suturing. Even our PICC nurses do not secure their lines with sutures and on many occasions, I get called by the bedside nurse to re-suture a loosely sutured central line.  Having said that, I'm not sure if the Practice Act covers suturing at all so that may be a gray area for any level of nurse in California.  For us NP's, we have to even make sure our Standardized Procedure states that we can suture.

Unless there is a separate training/certification obtained for suturing, I'm gonna say no. The closest thing related to it that nurses can do is remove staples 🙂

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 15years medical. Has 42 years experience.

Back in the mid '80's, when I worked in OR, an ortho surgeon brought his own assistant into the surgeries. The surgeon would perform the surgery, and then leave his assistant to close up.

The assistant and I were chatting after one surgery and I asked him what his background was. The assistant told me that he was an EMT-B and the surgeon had trained him in to assist in surgeries and in the suturing process.

I wonder if that situation would fly in today's world?


Has 11 years experience.

I am still wondering about if nurses can remove sutures in California. Did anyone find the answer? 


Specializes in Emergency.

Yes RN's can definitely remove sutures. It's actually a daily occurrence in the emergency department. Actually, some patients are trained and given a suture removal kit if they will not be able to return to the ED or to their Dr. to have the sutures removed.