Date of Graduation

Winter 12-18-2015

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Catherine Coleman


The implementation of a standardized warming protocol aims to improve patient outcomes by preventing inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (IPH) and its complications in the ambulatory surgical setting. All patients, regardless of age or gender, are at risk for experiencing a 1-2° C drop in body core temperature within thirty minutes of anesthesia induction. The global aim of this project is to prevent IPH and its complications in the ambulatory surgical setting by implementing a warming protocol at a freestanding ambulatory surgery center. While an audit of the microsystem revealed a normothermia rate of 28%, a standardized warming protocol is expected to increase the normothermia rate to 90%. The project is vital because it reduces costs from postoperative complications, promotes best safe practices and quality care, and enhances the patient’s surgical experience and satisfaction.

Based on clinical best practice guidelines recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and American Society of Perianesthesia Nursing, a temperature management policy and warming protocol were implemented. Staff was educated about IPH and its complications, and post-tests and follow-up meetings with each department were held to assess staff understanding. The project is currently an ongoing change, and evaluation of the results is expected to occur in December 2015.

The nursing profession is constantly pressured to find innovative ways to improve patient care, eliminate waste, and maintain affordability through process improvement projects. A process improvement project, such as the warming protocol, is both essential and meaningful when adopted in the ambulatory surgery setting.