British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 20, Iss. 16, 06 Sep 2011, pp 978 - 984
Patients undergoing surgery in the UK are seeing a rise in the development of enhanced recovery programmes as a result of increasing medical advances. Enhanced recovery is concerned with helping patients get better sooner after an operation by following a meticulous regime of care. The practical application of these programmes is undertaken largely by nurses, despite encompassing explicit, medically-driven protocols. However, beyond the professional knowledge and skills required to aid the programmes, nursing knowledge has contributed little to this rapidly developing aspect of surgery to date. Nursing has much to offer through future creation of centrally coordinated, surgical nursing units focusing on patients' holistic experience. This article will briefly describe enhanced recovery, identify aspects of nursing knowledge that can have a positive influence, and outline practical changes to assist the development of such programmes, thereby benefiting all patients undergoing elective surgery.