Nursing Excellence: Perioperative Care

Pre-Admission Testing

Nurse Manager – TBD
Location: Medical Office Building A, Suite 140

The Pre-Admission Testing Unit (PAT) is for patients having surgery or other intervential procedures requiring anesthesia. There are 8 PAT rooms for inverview, anesthesia assessment, nursing assessment, lab, EKG, X-ray and other intervention to prepare the patient for surgery.

The PAT patient is registered and interviewed by a financial clerk, pharmacy technician, nurse and anesthesiologist. A complete system assessment and tests are performed to make sure the patient has a successful recovery.

The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The unit is staffed with a total of 12 staff members to assure the surgical patient is prepared for the surgical procedure.


Nurse Manager – TBD
Location: 2 East

The Pre-Operative Holding Room is staffed from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. through the week and 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. In-house patients and morning admits are prepared here for their surgical procedures. IV lines are inserted by Holding Room nursing staff, and invasive monitoring lines and epidural catheters for post-op pain management , when indicated, are inserted by the anesthesia staff. Sequential compression hose are applied pre-operatively, if ordered, or TED anti-embolism stockings may also be placed.

Pre-operative lab work, EKG or chest X-ray may be ordered if not already done. The patient will be assessed by the nursing staff that will attend them in the room, as well as the Anesthesia staff.

This unit is staffed with registered nurses trained to handle critical situations that may occur before surgery due to the anesthetic medications given for relaxation. This unit is a 14-bed area with curtain dividers so each patient may be observed as their surgical preparation is begun with anesthetic medications. Family members are only allowed in unusual circumstances. This area strives to be a quiet atmosphere, so the surgical patient can relax before going to surgery.

Ambulatory Surgery

Nurse Manager -TBD
Location: 2 North

The Ambulatory Surgery unit is a 23-bed unit adjacent to the main operating suite on 2 North. Pre-operative and post-operative care is provided by registered nurses for patients undergoing surgical procedures that do not require overnight hospital stay.

The patient is admitted to the unit, sent to the OR Suite, sent to PACU for recovery and returned to ASU for discharge home. The family waits in the Surgical Lounge located near the ASU. The family members are included in the care of the surgical outpatient and a limited number of family members may stay with the patient before and after surgery until discharged home.

The outpatients make up approximately 49 percent of the main OR schedule. The monthly caseload is 750 with an average of 36 daily. The unit is open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and is staffed with registered nurses to take care of the patients.

Outpatients recover at home and are followed-up with a call from the nurse the next day. Outpatient is the way of the future for most patients going to surgery, and they are able to return to work in days rather than weeks or months. As technology improves, the surgical procedures will become less invasive, which means quicker recovery for surgical patients.

Operating Room

Manager – Catie Millsaps, MSN, RN, CNOR
Location: 2 East

The operating room consists of 30 regularly scheduled suites for surgery Monday through Friday. On Saturday, there are three urgent rooms and one trauma room, and two urgent suites and one trauma on Sunday. Average monthly caseload is 1,550 cases, and the weekend monthly average is 25 to 30. Peri-operative nurses work closely with surgeons and anesthesiologists. To practice peri-operative nursing to its fullest extent means the nurse assesses and teaches each patient pre-operatively; plans, implements and documents peri-operative care; and evaluates postoperatively. This definition makes clear that patient advocacy management of the environment, overall comprehensive planning of care and preparation for the surgical procedure belong to nursing. We employ approximately 69 RNs and 52 surgical technologists for a 24/7 schedule.

The main OR is open for elective surgical schedule Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. and closed on Holidays except for emergency cases.

The registered nurse must have a peri-operative based OR program completed or equivalent experience in an operating room. We provide a class in the early spring of each year for training for new nurses to the OR. The program usually takes approximately eight to nine months of classroom and clinical rotations. The surgical technologist must have completed a program from an accredited surgical school, which usually takes one year to complete. This program also is classroom with clinical rotations. The RN supervises the room and is responsible for the patient care during the surgery along with the surgeon and anesthesia staff. The surgical technologist is responsible for the passing of the instruments and supplies handed to the surgeon during the procedure.

We are a Level I Trauma Center and the operating room staff prides itself in being a part of the hospital to serve the community in emergent and non-emergent situations. We strive to give very good care to all surgical patients and return them to their previous lifestyle.

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

Nurse Manager – Cindy Parks, MSN, RN, CPAN
Location: 2 East

Post Anesthesia Care unit (PACU) is the new designation of a short-term nursing care unit, which has long been known as PAR or Recovery Room. The PACU facilitates awakening or recovery of patients from anesthesia. These units were created to closely observe post-operative patients and prevent unnecessary mortality and morbidity immediately following general anesthesia.

The PACU is staffed 24 hours per day and seven days per week. The PACU now is comprised of two united yet distinct units. Between the two units we have increased our capacity to care for 34 patients at one time. Each bed is equipped with cardiac and invasive monitoring.

The Post Anesthesia Care Unit nursing staff includes many people with more than 15 years experience in the field. This diverse group comes from emergency, intensive care and medical-surgical nursing backgrounds. Between the two units, approximately 75 to 95 patients are treated during a normal workday schedule. Acuity ranges from a simple procedure requiring local anesthesia and sedation to a complex major trauma patient requiring general anesthesia and close 1:1 care.

Nurse Anesthesia

Concentration Coordinator – Jim Jones, MSN, CRNA
Location: 2 North

For more than 100 years, nurse anesthetists have been providing safe, high-quality anesthesia care to surgical patients of all ages, in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered and for every type of surgical procedure imaginable.

At UT Medical Center, anesthesia care is provided utilizing the team approach. The anesthesia care team consists of an anesthesiologist, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), an anesthesia resident or a student nurse anesthetist. Prior to the day of surgery, many patients are asked to visit the anesthesia pre-op clinic. At this time, a medical history is taken by a nurse and/or doctor, lab work may be drawn and special tests are ordered. A discussion with the patient takes place at this time about the type of anesthesia suitable for him and the type of surgery he is having done.

On the day of surgery, the patient will meet with the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist or resident who will participate in his case. Again, a medical history is obtained and the plan of anesthesia care finalized. An anesthesiologist is present as the patient goes to sleep, intermittently during the case and then as the patient wakes up. An anesthesiologist is always immediately available if needed. The nurse anesthetist or resident assigned to the case remains with the patient throughout the entire case.

Medications are given pre-operatively to allay anxiety. Drugs also are given during anesthesia to control pain and to prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting. Patients are taken to the recovery room after surgery. The recovery room stay varies according to the type of surgery, type of anesthesia administered and the patient’s health status.

Perfusion Services

Manager – Jacqueline Conzemius, RN, CCP
Location: 4 North

The Perfusion Department at the University of Tennessee Medical Center is a clinical department of skilled practitioners who are members of the cardiovascular surgical team. The perfusionist primarily is responsible for the selection, set-up and operation of the heart lung machine and other equipment used to support or replace the normal functions of the heart and lungs to maintain a constant physiologic state during adult and pediatric cardiac procedures and open heart surgery.

The perfusion staff also performs additional services utilizing blood conservation techniques involved in vascular, trauma, neuro, orthopedic and vascular surgical procedures. Perfusion Services are provided to patients in the Cardiac Cath Lab, Operating Room, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Department.

The UT Medical Center perfusionists are skilled professionals qualified by academic and clinical education and are credentialed via the certification process of the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion as Certified Clinical Perfusionists (CCP), and licensed by the State of Tennessee as Licensed Clinical Perfusionists.

Contact Us

The University of Tennessee Medical Center
1924 Alcoa Hwy
Knoxville, TN 37920


Nursing Excellence at the Medical Center

Brain & Spine Institute

The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Stroke Team is committed to providing evidence-based care to East Tennesseans experiencing ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

Cancer Institute

As the largest provider of cancer care in the region, the Cancer Institute offers the broadest spectrum of cancer specialists and services to care for the adult population.

Clinical Services

Endoscopy services include diagnostic and therapeutic gastrointestinal and pulmonary procedures.

Emergency & Trauma

The University of Tennessee Medical Center Emergency Department is the tertiary referral center for medical care in the East Tennessee region. It is the area’s only designated Level I Trauma Center for adults and pediatrics. 

Heart Lung Vascular Institute

The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab is a multidisciplinary department providing cardiac services for inpatient and outpatient adult populations. 

Medical Surgical

General Surgery and Gastroenterology is a 30-bed acute care telemetry unit within the medical-surgical service line. 

Orthopaedic Institute

The Orthopaedic Institute and University Orthopaedic Surgeons are dedicated to providing quality, safe, and patient centered care through a comprehensive range of orthopaedic services.

Other Areas

The Ambulatory Infusion Center is designed to provide a quick and comfortable setting for patients needing IV therapy.


The Pre-Anesthesia Testing Unit is for patients having surgery or other interventional procedures requiring anesthesia. 

Women & Infants

The 4 East Antepartum / Gynecology Unit is a private 23 bed unit dedicated to Women’s Health.