I am sure all of us would agree that the Surgeon who has
operated on the patient MUST see the patient postoperatively at least
I think the question of follow up really relates to what happens
on going home - i.e. medium term follow up. We are now ? all agreed that
most patients do not need follow up, but desire it, and we surgeons need
it for our education.
Surgeons are busy, and seeing ten to twenty patients per week
for follow up is a hassle. Some do it, and some don't. There is a
solution. Have a Nurse do it. Not any old Nurse, but a Surgical
Assistant who has been with the patient from the first. i.e. she has
seen the patient before admission (and done all those bits of paper
which nurses have to fill in for the most fit of patients), greeted them
when they are admitted, been to the operating room as scrub nurse for
them, been on the postop rounds with you, listened to their grumbles,
and now either phones the patient a week or two later or arranges to see
them for follow up.
In the U.K. we have been beset by the concept of the "Named
Nurse" who is the nurse deemed to be in charge of an individual patient
throughout their stay on the ward. In practice it often happens that
they only see the patient once!, and certainly they have no role in OR
or as an out patient.
The concept of the Surgical Assistant is just appearing here. It
makes the idea of the "named nurse" a reality, gives continuity of care
to the Surgeon and his Surgical Assistant, reduces the time spent by the
Surgeon on unproductive work, and I hope a better deal for the patient.
That is the theory, and I hope to have it in practice next