When it comes to kids, there's no such thing as routine surgery. Even outpatient surgery can make parents and kids feel scared and uncertain. We can help prepare both parent and child for the surgical experience to help ease fears and uncertainties.

Here is a list of the team members you will be meeting throughout your stay...

  • Pre-Op and PACU Nurses
  • Nursing Assistants/Care Partners
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Surgeon and Surgical team
  • Residents
  • Operating Room (OR) Staff
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Receptionist
  • Volunteers

What do we do first? The Pre-Op Clinic:

Our clinic provides streamlined pre-surgical care for children and families. This clinic is an excellent opportunity to have questions answered by the anesthesiologist. The nursing staff collects pre-screening admission history data needed for the day of surgery. You receive specific instructions to follow for the day of surgery and the child life specialist meets with you and your child.

What do we need the day of surgery?

  • Please bring:
    • An extra change of clothing for the child
    • A complete medication list with dosages
    • A favorite toy or blanket for the visit

What happens before the surgery? Pre-Operative Area:

This area is where staff prepares the child for surgery, which includes taking the heart rate, temperature, height and weight measurements and changing into a hospital gown. You will also provide medical history and meet the surgical care team.

We understand this is a stressful time for you and your child. The anesthesia team will explore options to help ease anxieties. A plan of care for the child during the procedure will also be discussed at this time.

Typically two parents or guardians are allowed with the patient while medical forms and logistics are being completed. If time allows, the nurse contacts the receptionist in the family waiting room and other family members are escorted to the patient room. The length of the visitation and number of other visitors depends on patient needs and the status of the unit.

Then what? The Operating Room:

This is the room where the child will go to sleep and have the surgery. An OR nurse will call the waiting room to give updates while the patient or guardian waits. When the surgery is over, the surgeon will speak with the parent or guardian in the waiting room or private consultation room.

What happens after surgery? Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU):


This is where the patient will wake up and recover after the procedure or surgery.  After surgery, the PACU nurse gets a report from the anesthesia team and connects the monitors that measure heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. The nurse also settles their child to ensure his or her comfort.

As soon as the patient is settled, the nurse will call a parent to join him/her. When patient arrives in PACU, the patient may still be sleeping. If so, it is best to allow him or her to wake up on his/her own. This allows the anesthesia to wear off naturally and the patient wakes up when ready. Children frequently wake up from anasthesia in a confused state and may appear irritable, combative or disoriented during the recovery phase. The time a child spends in recovery depends on his or her needs. A general time reference is about 30 minutes to 2 hours.

During the stay in the recovery room, your child may be ready to begin drinking and possibly eating again. It depends on the surgery itself and the doctor's orders. Due to the effects of anesthesia, it is best to begin with light fluids or a Popsicle and hold off on the heavier foods until later, to help prevent nausea and vomiting.

When a child is ready to leave the recovery room, a care partner will escort you to your car or your room, depending on the necessary post-operative care.

What additional information will be helpful to our family while at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast?

Our surgical floor waiting room has a receptionist available to answer questions and there is an updates and tracking system in place to make sure you have the most current information about what is going on in the operating room. We also have private waiting areas for your family and private consultation rooms for you to talk with the doctor after surgery. We also have coffee, TV, wireless internet, cell phone reception and a play area to help make your time with us easier.

Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast also provides Pediatric Pre-Op tours. Children requiring surgery have the opportunity to tour the facility before the scheduled procedure. These are guided tours given by a Child Life Specialist. If you are interested in setting up a tour, call 704-403-1275.