Surgical counting is a process used to ensure that no items are left inside a patient during a surgical procedure. It involves two nurses counting all surgical items before, during, and at the end of the procedure. If there is no possibility of an item being retained, then no count is necessary. The same two nurses should be responsible for all surgical counts during the procedure, and the nurse in charge should make sure that the instrumental nurse responsible for counting is not required to act as a surgical assistant.
Additionally, opportunities for innovation in performing surgical counting should be explored. Surgeons and nurses must work together to ensure that no surgical instruments, sponges, or sutures are left in the patient's wound. At the beginning of a procedure, nurses manually count the number of disposable items or surgical supplies that can be discarded at the end of the case, as well as any instruments, and record the count on a purpose-designed “count sheet”. In some cases, the role of the instrument nurse may be secondary to the need for surgical assistance.
It is important to consider perspectives from other members of the surgical team, such as surgeons, anesthetists, and technicians, in order to gain a better understanding of how power dynamics can affect surgical outcomes. Surgical counting is an essential part of patient safety and should be taken seriously by all members of the medical team.