Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the ASPAN’s Clinical Practice Committee “FAQ” page.

Read answers to some of the most frequently asked clinical practice questions received by ASPAN. These questions will be modified periodically as practice issues change.

If you do not find the answer to your question, please feel free to submit it to ASPAN's Clinical Practice Network or post it on the ASPAN Forum.

Q:    What is best practice for a preoperative skin assessment for preprocedure/preoperative patients?

Q:    Can PACU nurses wear nail polish, just not fake nails?

Q:    Does ASPAN have any recommendation regarding best practice for fall risk assessments? Are there any recommendations for fall prevention?

Q:    What does ASPAN say about staffing after hours and on call?

Q:    Should PACU or ICU recover ICU patients on ventilators?

Q:    What is the standard for handoff report from the PACU to the receiving unit? 

Q:    Is Capnography required in Phase I PACU?

Q.    What is the national trend for being able to wear personal, home-laundered scrubs to work in the PACU?

Q.    Regarding the standard about when to implement medical-surgical restraints -- when does the standard apply?

Q.    Can licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or vocational nurses (VNs) work in the PACU if they are qualified (such as having BLS, ACLS, hemodynamic courses, arrhythmia courses, starting IVs, drawing blood, and working PACU for years)?

Q.    What is the definition of "responsible adult?" If a patient does not have a responsible adult to accompany them at discharge, what do you suggest?

Q.    What research has been done on temporal artery thermometers, and how accurate are they compared to tympanic thermometers?

Q.    Can a PACU nurse extubate a patient? Must an anesthesia provider be present?

Q.    What are the differences between Phase I, Phase II, and Extended Care (Extended Observation/Phase III)?

Q.    What are the criteria for discharging a patient following spinal anesthesia?

Q.    What are hospital PACUs doing regarding sending patients back direct to ICU from the OR, especially if the patient came from the ICU? If the patient goes back to ICU must a PACU RN recover the patient there?

Q.    What is ASPAN’s recommendation regarding the role of the perianesthesia nurse during a preoperative peripheral nerve block?

Q.    Does ASPAN have a position on dose ranging of medications? If so, what is it?

Q.    What are the staffing recommendations for Phase I level of care? Is it necessary to have two nurses present?

Q.    Can we put Preop patients in the same area that we have patients recovering from anesthesia?

Q.    Does ASPAN have standards or recommendations guiding the use of perioperative leg compression therapy for VTE prevention?  What are some of the indications and contraindications for use? 

Q.    What are the recommendations for PACU nurses regarding ACLS and PALS?

Q.    Is there an acuity system that ASPAN recommends to help in daily staffing?

Q.    What is ASPAN’s standard for vital sign frequency in Phase I and Phase II and Extended Care?

Q.    At what temperature can we set our blanket and fluid warmers?

Q.    Looking for a method to calculate IV fluid replacement for children and adults for the NPO hours, operative and post anesthesia period?