Can a Nurse Witness a Surgical Consent Form Before Anesthetist Has Seen the Patient

  1. great article from ask the experts about legal/professional issues for advanced practice nurses
    from medscape nurses (free registration required)

    can a nurse witness a surgical consent form before the anesthetist has seen the patient?

    i have a question regarding the safe and ethical care of patients. in my institution it is routine for the nurse to witness the anesthesia consent form prior to surgery. we have the patient read the form or we are to read the form to them. we have the consent signed prior to anyone from the anesthesia department seeing the patient. is this safe and ethical?


    also review at medscape:
    patient education for the purpose of informed consent
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Sep 30, '04
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  3. by   Town & Country
    We have the consent signed prior to anyone from the anesthesia department seeing the patient. Is this safe and ethical?

    That was AGAINST protocol where I worked. Anesthesia HAD to see the patient before consent was signed.
  4. by   LydiaGreen
    Our anesthesists see the patient with an RN present, the RN witnesses the consent AFTER the client has been asked if they have any other questions or concerns and signs.
  5. by   wam79
    Our consent is signed by Anesthesia. The nurse is singing only that you have wittnessed the pt sign the consent, and had not been administered any meds . With the laws the way they are now you should be specific. I will ask the pt if they have any questions, if they say they do I will contact the Doc and tell them. It is their responsibility to explain the proceures and risks.
    If you sign the form before the doc it will in effect state that You have explained all the risks ect...
  6. by   mattsmom81
    In my state we are supposedly witness to signature only and it is the surgeon's and anesthetist's responsibility to fully explain/address risks and procedural questions. However we DO get into some tricky things at times...and usually if the patient has lots of questions/concerns I will delay witnessing the signature due to my own comfort level with this.

    I have had to get very stern with some older or spoiled surgeons who expect it is my job(as the facility nurse) to do all his teaching about his procedure. Many surgeons hire their own staff to do this now...because staff nurses are rightfully bucking this expectation.