The veterinary nurse should communicate closely with the veterinarian to confirm the procedure being performed, equipment needed, and the anesthetic plan. A surgical checklist can be used as a tool to help ensure that steps are not missed and mistakes are prevented. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using a surgical checklist1 divided into 3 stages. (See Surgical Checklist & Table 1.)
At the end of each stage, the veterinary nurse should stop before proceeding further and confirm that previous items have been completed. The checklist helps with memory recall and establishes minimum necessary steps to complete a task.1
When creating a checklist, include items that have been frequently missed or where the consequences of missing the step could be devastating (eg, having no access to blood for a transfusion, failing to discover an item needed for a procedure was unavailable before surgery). The checklist should be short and easy to complete quickly. Print a sample surgical checklist here.