POST-OPERATIVE CARE OF PATIENTS
The first few days following cardiac operations are the most critical in terms of the patient's survival. The safety with which a patient can be conducted through this crisis period is largely dependent upon minute-to-minute observations and interventions made by the cardiac nurse, who is really the first line of defense in detecting and treating changes in the patient's condition. Good judgement must be exercised in determining when to inform the attending physician of a change in the patient's status or when the problem can be handled by the nurse at the bedside.
The patient's safety in this period also is dependent upon careful clinical and laboratory observations, effective medical management, and avoidance of predictable complications.