6 Tips To Ace Your Surgical Preadmissions Interview

By Becky Walton, RN, BSN, BSEd

Sometimes I feel like a genius.  Like the time a pitcher of Sprite spilled down my toddler's back at a restaurant and I had a change of clothes in the car.  In that moment, I was brilliant.  Other times I can feel like a real dummy.  Like any time in a computer store when technical details are being discussed. 

So as you’re preparing for a planned surgery, how can you feel more like a genius and less like a dummy at your hospital preadmissions interview (also called preadmissions testing or even preop visit)?  Here are six tips from a nurse who works in that department.

1. Continue your normal routine
Take all your normal medicines and eat and drink like usual prior to your appointment at the hospital.  Of course, if your doctor instructs you to stop a medicine (like a blood-thinner) or start a clear liquid diet (like before a colonoscopy) then follow those specific orders.  You don't need to be fasting for us and we would rather you be comfortable.  In addition, if you decide to skip your three usual blood pressure pills the morning of your appointment, you may end up in the emergency department with a dangerously high blood pressure.  None of us want that to happen!

2. Know your medicines and allergies
If your home medicine list doesn't roll off your tongue, just write it all down and hand us a list.  Nurses LOVE lists.  Include the name, dosage (usually listed as "mg"), and how often you take it.  If you can't make a list, just bring all the labeled pill bottles in a bag.  We need to know what you take to keep you safe before, during and after surgery.  Likewise, if something in the past made your throat close up, we need to know the name of that so we can keep you far, far away from it.  Do some investigating with records from your pharmacy, other doctors or whatever it takes to find out the name of your allergies.

3. Bring lab or EKG copies
We understand most people don't love needles. If you have recent bloodwork results, bring them.  We may still need to draw blood for other tests or repeat it if it was out of range, but it may save you a stick.  Same thing goes for an EKG (heart tracing report) or other heart testing.  If you have anything you think we might want, bring it.  We are happy to look through it.  If you have a pacemaker or heart stent, bring the wallet card for us to make a copy of that information as well. 

4. Make a list of questions
We want to help make you as comfortable as possible going into your surgery.  It is totally normal to have concerns and apprehensions.  Often we find if you tell us what most worries you, we can calm your mind by giving you facts.  All questions are good questions! 

5. Complete the admission database form ahead of time, if possible
Your surgeon's office may give you a folder full of information from the hospital.  If you see the "Admission Database" form you can fill it out to include your medicines, allergies, surgeries, health conditions, etc.  Bring it with you and give it to us so you can speed through that part of the process.  If you can't complete this prior to arrival, please don't worry.  We can obtain all we need at your visit.

6. Allow 2-3 hours from start to finish
It may not take this long, and it is our goal for it not to. But you will need to register with the hospital, meet with a nurse, and have any testing completed which may include X-rays.

All of these things will help you feel a little more brilliant while you are in medical land doing your preadmission testing.  And don't worry, we will still walk you through it step-by-step.  We want you to have a great experience here at GMC!

At Gwinnett Medical Center our surgical services range from outpatient procedures to minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery, to arthroscopic surgery and major procedures like open heart surgery.  Learn more about us or find the perfect physician for you at  gwinnettmedicalcenter.org.


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