Reducing the risk of surgical site infections
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Reducing the risk of surgical site infections

Jennie Walker Principal lecturer, Institute of Health and Allied Professions, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of the causes of, and risk factors for, development of surgical site infections

  • To be aware of a range of strategies to prevent the development of surgical site infections

  • To recognise the importance of adopting a holistic approach to prevention and management of surgical site infections

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are commonly reported healthcare-acquired infections that can have a detrimental effect on patient outcomes and quality of life. SSIs are associated with longer periods of hospitalisation and increased patient morbidity and mortality. A rigorous approach is required to identify and manage the risk of infection across the preoperative, intraoperative and post-operative phases of care. This article describes the causes of, risk factors for development and signs and symptoms of SSIs. The author emphasises the importance of a collaborative, holistic and multidisciplinary approach to the prevention and management of SSIs, which involves the nurse and other healthcare professionals working in partnership with the patient.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e12185

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Walker J (2023) Reducing the risk of surgical site infections. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e12185

Published online: 11 September 2023

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