Why Was My Surgery Delayed?

How To Answer Common Patient Questions

operative nurse in surgery

This is one of the most common issues that arise with patients. We can try our best to estimate surgery times, but it's impossible to know all that will happen. I have found that frequent updates to the preop nurse and communicating with the patient is all they really want. Most people are understanding if you just keep them imformed. Remember, they altered their entire schedule for this day, are hungry and thirsty and anxious.

̶ P.A., RN 24 Years

Spinal anesthesia

There are often delays, it's unavoidable and I understand their frustration but healthcare and surgery are unpredicable. I always make sure to let my patients know that we will devote as much time as needed to the patient before them and also to them when they are our main focus. As much as we'd like to keep everything running on time, it's more important to do our best, keep everyone safe and give each patient 100%.

̶ D.N., RN 13 Years


I have found that the best way to calm down angry patients is to empathize. Reaffirm that you nderstand their frustrations and that you and the team are working hard to keep things running smoothly but that sometimes the unexpected happens. Communication, communication, communication. Did I mention communication?

̶ J.C., RN 6 Years

Operating room

If all else fails and your attempts to inform and calm an upset patient, usually bringing the surgeon out again to talk with them really helps. I have had the most irrate and upset patients become totally different people once they see the physician again. It's like magic, who wants to yell at the person who is going to operate on you? Not many people!

̶ I.P., RN 8 Years