Perioperative Care

Find helpful information about how to prepare for surgery at UT Medical Center.

Perioperative Care

UT Medical Center provides the highest level of preoperative care for patients who are about to undergo surgery. Whether you’re having minor outpatient surgery, or a more complex procedure, perioperative care — the care you receive before and during surgery — can help prevent or lessen complications. The right care can also reduce pain after your operation and lead to a faster recovery.

Perioperative Care Starts With Pre-Anesthesia Testing

Pre-Anesthesia Testing is a vital part of perioperative care. The Pre-Anesthesia Testing (PAT) Unit is for patients having surgery or other procedures that require anesthesia. During PAT, you will visit one of eight rooms, where you will have an interview, anesthesia assessment, nursing assessment, lab, EKG, X-ray and other intervention to prepare you for surgery.

You will be registered and interviewed by a financial clerk, pharmacy technician, nurse and anesthesiologist. A complete system assessment and tests are performed to make sure you have a successful recovery.

The hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8 am-5:30 pm. The unit is staffed with 12 staff members to make sure you are prepared for your surgery.

Ambulatory Surgery Unit

If you’re having outpatient surgery, your surgery could take place in the Ambulatory Surgery Unit (ASU). With outpatient surgery, you leave the same day as your procedure. Most outpatient surgeries use minimally invasive techniques. This means less risk and less pain. And you can return to work in days, rather than weeks or months.

The ASU is a 23-bed unit with highly trained nurses, who will provide perioperative care. Once you are admitted to the ASU, you will be sent to the Operating Room. When your surgery is complete, your team will take you to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit for recovery. From there, you’ll be sent to Phase II Recovery for discharge home. Your family can wait in the Outpatient Surgical Lounge located near the ASU.

UT Day Surgery

UT Day Surgery (UTDS) is an ambulatory surgery center located at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Our center is comprised of 6 holding bays for surgery preparation, 6 operating room (OR) suites, and 10 recovery bays. Our main OR services include Orthopedics, Podiatry, General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Ear Nose & Throat, Neurology, Urology and Gynecology and we average 25-30 OR cases per day. In addition, there is a pain procedure room and 2 pain holding suites where we perform 10-14 pain procedures a day.

We have 38 registered nurses and 12 surgical technologists who support our surgeons and provide services for our patients. UTDS also has a wonderful admitting crew and support staff to assist in our goal of patient-family-centered care. We strive to treat our patients and their family members with the upmost respect and compassion.

UTDS is open Monday-Friday, 6 am until our last patient has fulfilled recovery room requirements to go home. We are closed all major holidays.

Pre-Operative Unit

The Pre-Operative Unit (POU) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In-house patients and morning admissions are prepared here for their surgical procedures. IV lines are inserted by POU nursing staff, and invasive monitoring lines and epidural catheters for post-op pain management , when indicated, are inserted by the anesthesia staff. Preoperative 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 him or her in the room, as well as, the Anesthesia staff.

The POC is staffed with detailed-oriented registered nurses trained to handle critical situations that may occur before surgery. This face-paced 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 that respects the privacy of each patient or he or she can relax before going to surgery.

Operating Room

The operating room (OR) 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. Perioperative nurses work closely with surgeons and anesthesiologists. To practice perioperative nursing to its fullest extent means the nurse assesses and teaches each patient preoperatively; 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.

The registered nurse must have a perioperative based OR program completed or equivalent experience in an operating room. 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. 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.

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit

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.

As you prepare for your procedure, you may have lots of questions. Our perioperative care teams are there to help walk you through every step of the process.

Don’t be afraid to discuss any concerns or questions you have beforehand with your doctor or other members of our health care staff.

Leadership Team

Sandy Leake, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

Chief Nursing Officer & Senior Vice President

Sean Schoolcraft, MBA, MS,

Executive Director, Perioperative Services

Catie Millsaps, MSN, RN, CNOR

Director, Surgical ServicesOR

Cindy Addleman, BSN, RN, RN-BC

Director, Perioperative Clinical Services

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Kelsey Echols, BSN, RN, CAPA

Interim Nurse Manager, UTDS

Elizabeth Peters, MSN, RN

Nurse Manager, PACU

Contact Info
The University of Tennessee Medical Center
1924 Alcoa Hwy
Knoxville, TN 37920
865-305-5000 Find a Doctor Make an Appointment

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