Nursing care plan for back surgery

Nursing care plan for back surgery


Backsurgery is a type of treatment used for various types of back injuries and pathology. Many people require back surgery due to progressive conditions like medical or degenerative diseases or from trauma from an injury. In this article, we will discuss the nursing care plan for back surgery.


What is a Nursing Care Plan? A nursing care plan is a written plan of care that we use in healthcare settings to ensure continuity of care and evidence-based practice through a standardized approach.

Purpose of a Nursing Care Plan The purpose of a nursing care plan is to identify the patient’s health needs, develop an individualized plan of care based on the nurse’s assessment of the patient’s health condition, and coordinate and evaluate the plan of care to yield desired outcomes as identified by the patient or his/her caregiver.

Nursing Diagnosis

Pain Patients may experience pain after surgery due to stretching and irritation of the surrounding nerve tissue or musculature of the spine.

Risk for ineffective airway clearance Patients may be at risk for ineffective airway clearance due to postoperative pain, which can result in difficulty coughing and difficulty clearing secretions.

Impaired physical mobility After surgery, patients may be bed bound and may require physical assistance with activities of daily living, such as getting out of bed, bathing, and grooming.

Risk for infection Patients are at a heightened risk for infection due to the use of postoperative medicinal applications and exposure to outside pathogens.


The patient will be able to:

  • Manage and report signs and symptoms of infection
  • Understand the importance of proper hygiene techniques to prevent infection
  • Demonstrate effective breathing techniques and strategies to manage postoperative pain
  • Participate in physical therapy exercises and appropriate joint movement and positioning to reduce pain and tension
  • Independently perform self-care activities within 24 hours


The nurse should:

  • Assess patient for signs and symptoms of infection, such as redness and warmth around incision site, foul-smelling drainage, and fever
  • Encourage the patient to maintain good hygiene practices, such as hand-washing, showering, and using antiseptic solutions
  • Instruct the patient on proper breathing techniques and strategies to manage postoperative pain
  • Assist the patient with physical therapy exercises and appropriate joint movement and positioning to reduce pain and tension
  • Supervise the patient in self-care activities and provide assistance as needed


These interventions are based on the following rationales:

  • Infection is a potential complication of surgery and must be monitored closely. Good hygiene practices can help to minimize the risk of developing an infection.
  • Proper breathing techniques can help reduce postoperative pain by reducing muscle tension.
  • Physical therapy exercises can help to increase joint range of motion, improve muscle strength and control pain.
  • Self-care activities, such as bathing and dressing, should be started as soon as possible to help with early recovery.


The nurse should evaluate the patient’s response to the interventions and modify accordingly. Signs and symptoms of infection should be monitored closely and reported promptly to the physician. The nurse should assess the patient’s ability to perform self-care activities and make necessary accommodations as needed. The effectiveness of the physical therapy exercises should be evaluated and progress monitored.


Back surgery is a complex procedure that carries certain risks and complications. As nurses, it is our responsibility to identify potential health concerns and develop nursing care plans based on patients’ individual needs. This article has provided an overview of the nursing care plan for back surgery and should serve as a good foundation for understanding how to care for patients pre- and postoperatively.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How long does it take to recover from back surgery? Every patient is different and recovery time can vary greatly depending on age, overall health, and other factors. Generally, it takes several weeks to months to fully recover from back surgery.
  • What can I do to help manage postoperative pain? Proper medication and pain management techniques, such as ice, heat, deep-breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques, can help with postoperative pain.
  • When can I resume physical activity after back surgery? It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding physical activity. Generally, it is recommended to refrain from strenuous activities for 6 weeks after surgery.
  • Are there any long-term effects of back surgery? Patients may experience some long-term effects after back surgery, such as numbness, tingling, and soreness.
  • What is the best way to prevent complications after surgery? It is important to follow all postoperative instructions provided by the physician and engage in healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining proper hygiene, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking to minimize the risk of developing postoperative complications.

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