Case Study: Post-operative Care

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Assessment Task

In this assessment, you will apply your knowledge and understanding of post-operative nursing care. After analysing a case study, you will answer a series of questions. Please refer to the Task Instructions for details on how to complete this task. Please refer to the Task Instructions for details on how to complete this task.


The Registered Nurse plays an important role in the postoperative care of a person. This assessment provides you with the opportunity to apply theory to a clinical scenario. To complete this assessment, you will need to apply clinical reasoning processes as you examine and analyse a case study. You will be required to analyse the data provided and research the surgical procedure and anaesthetic administered as well as post-operative nursing care principles. This information will then be used to discuss the holistic nursing care of the person during the post-operative period of an acute care admission.

You will need to use the following processes from the clinical reasoning cycle to complete the assessment:

  • process information
  • identify problems/issues.
  • take action.
  • evaluate outcomes.
  • reflect on the process and new learning.


To complete this assessment, you will need to examine and analyse the case study presented below and provide responses to the questions asked.

Case study

Maria Romano is a 76 year old woman admitted to the Emergency Department via ambulance. Maria fell when watering her garden and was unable to get up. She was lying in her garden for 3 hours until her daughter came home from work and found her.

Maria's medical history includes osteoporosis, glaucoma and she has recently been diagnosed with early dementia. She has no significant surgical history. Maria lives with her daughter Paulina and Paulina's husband, Sam.

Maria's current medications include Aspirin 75mgs daily, Alendronate Sodium 10mg orally daily & Latanoprost eye drops to both eyes nocte.

Preoperatively, Paulina shared her concerns regarding Maria's low weight and recent frequent falls. Maria has a walking frame but rarely uses it. Maria shared concerns about her garden and who will care for it while she is in hospital.

Maria has undergone an Open Reduction and Internal fixation (ORIF) of the fractured Right Neck of Femur under Spinal and General Anaesthesia.

Maria was nauseated in the Post anaesthetic care unit (PACU) and vomited a small amount of green fluid. IV Metoclopramide was administered with good effect.

Post-operative surgical antibiotic prophylaxis and pharmaceutical and mechanical thromboprophylaxis are ordered. An intravenous PCA of Morphine is ordered together with regular Paracetamol.

The surgeon has ordered the drain tube to removed on Post-Operative day 2 (after review)

Discharge is scheduled for post-operative day 5.

Observations on return to the ward

Airway: patent Respiratory rate: 16 breaths/min, Oxygen saturation: 97% on room air

Heart rate: 84 beats/min, Blood pressure: 100/60 mmHg, Capillary refill: 2 seconds Intravenous therapy Cephalic vein Left arm: Hartmanns solution 8 hourly

Dressing to Right hip: Intact with small amount of bright red ooze on dressing Redivac drain tube in situ: patent – 200 mL of bright red drainage

Bromage score: 2 Dermatome level: L2

Right foot pale, cool to touch, pedal pulse present, slight paraesthesia in toes

Graduated compression stockings in situ

Alert: orientated to time and place, Pain score: 1/10 on rest, 3/10 on movement

Temperature: 36 C

Maria sustains a skin tear on her lower right arm as you release the bed rails after transferring her to her room.


  1. Discuss the elements of open disclosure that are required in this situation. (100 words).
  2. Identify four postoperative/anaesthetic problems or issues from the data presented. Briefly discuss the factors that pre-dispose Maria to these problems* (200 words)
  3. Discuss the nursing interventions that you would employ to prevent/manage the identified problems. Ensure a rationale is provided for each intervention* (650 words)*
  4. Discuss how you would evaluate the effectiveness of these nursing interventions (150 words)* *

*Answers to Questions 2, 3 & 4 must be presented in a table (see a suggested format below).

Patient problem Nursing Intervention Rationales Evaluation

  1. Reflect on what you have learned from completing this case study and how this learning will inform your clinical practice (100 words


  • A cover page must be included which includes the subject name and code, assessment number, student name, student number, and word count
  • Present your assessment in 12-point font, Arial or Times New Roman, 1.5 line spaced, and a minimum of 2.5cm margins.


  • For each question, you should provide a brief separate heading (please do not include the questions in the assessment).
  • Answers to questions 2, 3 & 4 can be presented in a table (see suggested format below)
  • Ensure that your answers are concise and relate to the case study provided. Each question has been given an estimated word count to give you direction on the amount of information you need to provide.
  • Bullet points can be utilised in your responses.
  • You are not required to provide an introduction or conclusion for this assessment.


10 references are required for this assessment. Use recent, relevant, and reliable resources to complete this task. These should be peer-reviewed literature from other credible sources (government documents, reports, publications, authentic webpages, etc., related to the subject matter and not older than seven years.

It is essential that you use the appropriate APA style for citing and referencing research.


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