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Perioperative Nursing Research Topics: Navigating the Surgical Journey

Perioperative nursing is pivotal in ensuring patients’ safety, well-being, and successful surgical procedure outcomes. This specialized nursing field encompasses various phases, from preoperative assessment to intraoperative care and postoperative recovery. For nursing students seeking a comprehensive understanding of perioperative nursing, this article presents a range of PICOT questions and provides project and research topic ideas to enhance your learning experience.

Understanding Perioperative Nursing

Perioperative nursing involves the care of patients throughout the surgical process, encompassing three primary phases: preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative. In the preoperative phase, nurses conduct thorough assessments, review medical histories, and address patients’ concerns, working closely with the healthcare team to ensure readiness for surgery. During surgery, the intraoperative phase demands meticulous attention to infection control, sterile techniques, and patient safety. Finally, in the postoperative phase, nurses manage pain, monitor recovery, and educate patients about self-care upon discharge.

Perioperative nursing research topics

Exploring PICOT Questions in Perioperative Nursing

  1. P: Adult patients undergoing orthopedic surgery; I: Implementation of multimodal pain management; C: Traditional pain management methods; O: Reduced postoperative opioid consumption; T: 3 months.
    In this study, researchers aim to determine if implementing a multimodal pain management approach for adult orthopedic surgery patients reduces postoperative opioid consumption compared to traditional methods.
  2. P: Pediatric population requiring day surgeries; I: Introduction of preoperative education through play therapy; C: Standard preoperative education; O: Decreased preoperative anxiety; T: 6 weeks.
    This investigation seeks to evaluate whether preoperative education delivered via play therapy reduces preoperative anxiety in pediatric patients undergoing day surgeries compared to standard educational methods.
  3. P: Older adults undergoing cardiac surgery; I: Implementation of a mobility protocol postoperatively; C: Conventional postoperative care; O: Improved postoperative physical function; T: 1 year.
    The objective of this study is to ascertain whether the implementation of a postoperative mobility protocol enhances the physical function of older adults who have undergone cardiac surgery, compared to standard care practices.
  4. P: Bariatric surgery patients; I: Adoption of enhanced postoperative monitoring; C: Routine postoperative monitoring; O: Early detection of complications; T: 6 months.
    This inquiry aims to determine whether the use of enhanced postoperative monitoring for bariatric surgery patients leads to early identification of complications compared to routine monitoring procedures.
  5. P: Cancer patients undergoing radical surgeries; I: Integration of mindfulness meditation in the preoperative phase; C: Standard preoperative care; O: Reduced stress and improved coping; T: 3 months.
    Researchers in this study seek to establish whether incorporating mindfulness meditation into the preoperative care of cancer patients undergoing radical surgeries reduces stress levels and improves coping mechanisms.
  6. P: Patients undergoing emergency surgeries; I: Implementation of a checklist-based communication system; C: Conventional communication methods; O: Enhanced teamwork and reduced errors; T: 1 year.
    This investigation aims to determine whether adopting a checklist-based communication system during emergency surgeries enhances teamwork and reduces communication errors, compared to traditional communication practices.
  7. P: Geriatric patients undergoing hip replacement surgery; I: Preoperative nutritional optimization; C: Standard preoperative nutrition care; O: Improved postoperative wound healing; T: 4 months.
    This study aims to evaluate whether preoperative nutritional optimization in geriatric patients undergoing hip replacement surgery leads to improved wound healing outcomes compared to standard preoperative nutrition care.
  8. P: Obstetric patients undergoing cesarean sections; I: Skin-to-skin contact during the intraoperative period; C: Delayed skin-to-skin contact postoperatively; O: Enhanced maternal-infant bonding; T: 2 weeks.
    In this study, researchers aim to determine whether facilitating immediate skin-to-skin contact between mothers and infants during cesarean sections contributes to enhanced maternal-infant bonding compared to delayed contact.
  9. P: Patients undergoing laparoscopic procedures; I: Utilization of virtual reality distraction; C: Standard preoperative anxiety reduction techniques; O: Decreased preoperative anxiety levels; T: 1 month.
    This investigation seeks to evaluate whether employing virtual reality distraction techniques before laparoscopic procedures results in decreased preoperative anxiety levels compared to conventional anxiety reduction methods.
  10. P: Surgical staff in an ambulatory surgery center; I: Implementation of a structured handoff protocol; C: Informal handoff practices; O: Enhanced communication and reduced errors; T: 6 months.
    This study aims to ascertain whether implementing a structured handoff protocol among surgical staff in an ambulatory surgery center leads to enhanced communication and reduced errors during patient transfers.

EBP Project Ideas on Preoperative Nursing

  1. Development of a comprehensive preoperative patient education pamphlet.
  2. Evaluation of the effectiveness of postoperative pain management strategies.
  3. Implementation of infection prevention protocols in the perioperative setting.
  4. Assessment of the impact of nurse-led intraoperative communication on patient outcomes.
  5. Investigation of the use of technology in enhancing patient safety during surgery.

Nursing Capstone Project Ideas

  1. Design and execution of a perioperative care improvement program in a local healthcare facility.
  2. Analysis of the psychological impact of prolonged stays in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU).
  3. Creation of a perioperative simulation training module for nursing education.
  4. Evaluation of patient satisfaction with perioperative nursing care in different surgical specialties.
  5. Exploration of the ethical challenges in perioperative nursing decision-making.

Research Paper Topics on Preoperative Nursing

  1. Strategies for preventing surgical site infections in the perioperative setting.
  2. The role of perioperative nurses in ensuring patient safety during robotic surgeries.
  3. Impact of cultural competence in perioperative nursing care.
  4. Barriers and facilitators to effective communication among the surgical team.
  5. Patient advocacy in perioperative nursing: Challenges and opportunities.

Perioperative Nursing Research Questions

  1. How does the implementation of a standardized checklist improve patient outcomes in the perioperative phase?
  2. What are the best practices for managing postoperative pain without excessive opioid use?
  3. How does patient anxiety influence recovery outcomes following surgery, and how can it be effectively managed?
  4. What role does nurse-led education play in preparing patients for surgery and reducing perioperative complications?
  5. What are the key factors contributing to the successful implementation of perioperative infection control protocols?

Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

  1. The Evolution of Perioperative Nursing: From Florence Nightingale to Modern Practices.
  2. Exploring the Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Preoperative Anxiety.
  3. The Crucial Role of Communication in the Perioperative Team.
  4. Technology’s Impact on Patient Safety and Surgical Outcomes.
  5. Ethical Dilemmas in Perioperative Nursing: Balancing Patient Autonomy and Best Practices.


As you embark on your journey into the realm of perioperative nursing, remember that knowledge and curiosity are your greatest allies. Engage with the questions, topics, and ideas presented here, and consider how you can contribute meaningfully to this vital healthcare field. Whether you’re delving into EBP projects, crafting thought-provoking essays, or pursuing research opportunities,  we encourage you to explore our writing services‘ valuable resources. Together, we can elevate the standard of care and make a lasting impact on patients’ lives.

FAQs about Perioperative Nursing

  1. What are the 4 categories of perioperative nursing? Perioperative nursing can be categorized into four main roles: the circulating nurse, scrub nurse, anesthesia nurse, and recovery room nurse. Each role plays a distinct part in ensuring the smooth flow of surgical procedures and patient care.
  2. What are the 3 phases of perioperative nursing? The three phases of perioperative nursing are the preoperative phase (before surgery), the intraoperative phase (during surgery), and the postoperative phase (after surgery). These phases encompass comprehensive patient care throughout the surgical process.
  3. What are the types of perioperative nursing? Perioperative nursing includes various specialities, such as scrub nurses who maintain sterile fields, circulating nurses who manage the operating room environment, and anesthesia nurses who focus on patient sedation and safety. Additionally, some nurses specialize in post-anesthesia care and recovery.
  4. What are the components of perioperative nursing? Perioperative nursing involves several crucial components, including preoperative assessments, patient education, infection control measures, sterile techniques during surgery, monitoring patients’ vital signs, managing pain and recovery, and ensuring effective communication among the surgical team. These components collectively contribute to optimal patient outcomes throughout the surgical journey.


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