What does 'routine neuro obs' really mean? Establishing a guideline

Amelia Swift, Lynch Claire, Gwynn Chloe, Holland Katie

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Neurosurgery carries a risk of post-operative deterioration that can be detected using neurological observations (NO). NO are frequently requested by surgeons using the phrase ‘routine post-op neuro obs’. There is no agreed definition of what this means.
To identify the range of possible interpretations of the phrase ‘routine post-op neuro obs’ by nurses and surgeons.
National policy analysis, literature review, notes audit and survey methods were used to identify national and local practice. Data were analysed descriptively using Excel.
Two out of 15 policies contained observation guidance. Fifteen surgeons used five terms to describe post-operative observations. ‘Routine’ was used to describe observation frequency anywhere between every 15 minutes and every 4 hours. Nurses varied in their interpretation, and frequency was based on clinical judgement.
Post-operative instructions and nursing practice vary. There is a need and desire for clear evidence-based guidelines to ensure consistency and patient safety.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationBritish Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2018


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