A Guide to Patient Positioning for Nurses
May 31, 2022
In a healthcare setting, patient positioning is a critical aspect of the nursing practice. It involves maintaining a patient’s good body alignment by constantly changing their position in a systematic way. It is the responsibility of nurses to ensure that the patients are positioned properly. Principles of patient positioning in nursing should be taken seriously by all nursing professionals. These principles are important for many reasons including airway management, ventilation, controlling unnecessary exposure, and most importantly physiological safety. In this blog, we will understand more about patient positioning, its importance, and the different patient positions that are used in healthcare settings.
What is Patient Positioning?Patient positioning is a practice that involves maintaining a patient’s body in a neutral alignment by preventing hypertension and extreme lateral rotation so that immobility and injury can be prevented. Learning the rules for patient positioning in nursing is an important practice and a responsibility of the Registered Nurse. In surgery, things such as specimen collection and proper patient positioning offer optimal exposure to the surgical site and maintenance of the patient’s dignity by controlling any unnecessary exposure. Patient positioning is important for ensuring patient safety not just during a surgical procedure but also before and after. Optimal positioning is not just for ensuring the best possible access to a surgical site but also prevents long-term problems such as nerve damage or pressure ulcers. In most healthcare settings, patient positioning offers airway management and ventilation while maintaining body alignment and providing physiological safety. The patient positioning must be done to avoid any complications so that better outcomes can be attained after the surgical procedures.
Goals of Patient Positioning:It is important to note that patient positioning in nursing is important for a safe and effective surgical procedure. Proper patient positioning in the operating room depends largely on the type and length of procedure, anesthesia access to patients, the medical devices required, and other factors. Safe positioning of a patient is a team effort but often, nurses are responsible for ensuring that it is carried out well. While the surgical procedure is going on, all members of the team play an important role in making sure that the correct position of a patient is maintained. The most important goal of patient positioning in nursing is to safeguard the patient from any injuries and physiological complications of immobility. To be specific, the primary goals of patient positioning are mentioned below:
- Comfort and Safety: Patient positioning in nursing helps in supporting the patient’s airway and maintaining circulation all through the procedure. The impaired venous returning to the heart and ventilation to perfusion mismatch are relatively common complications that arise. Proper positioning promotes comfort and prevents nerve damage by preventing any unnecessary extension.
- Dignity and Privacy: In surgery, optimal patient positioning in nursing is an excellent way to respect the patient’s dignity by reducing the exposure of the patient who is feeling vulnerable.
- Visibility and Success: Suitable patient positioning in nursing allows ease of surgical access as well as anaesthetic administration during the perioperative phase.
- Maintaining the patient’s airway and circulation all through the procedure.
- Preventing nerve damage.
- Allowing access to the surgical site as well as for anaesthetic administration.
- Offering comfort and safety to the patients.
- Preventing any soft tissue or musculoskeletal patient injury.
5 Common Patient Positions:
Fowler’s Position:Also known as the sitting position, the Fowler’s position is one of the patient positioning in nursing that is used for neurosurgery and shoulder surgeries. While positioning a patient in Fowler’s position, the surgical staff is supposed to minimize the degree of the patient’s head elevation as much as possible while maintaining the head in a neutral position.