Surgical specimen management is an important responsibility of perioperative nurses and is essential to the provision of safe, quality patient care. Errors related to surgical specimen management can lead to a variety of negative consequences for patients and personnel. Unfortunately, surgical specimen management errors can and do occur particularly during the preanalytic phase, and thus are a major perioperative patient safety concern. The overall management process for various surgical specimens is essentially the same, requiring a multifaceted, multidisciplinary, standardized method that includes specimen identification, labeling, collection, handling, transferring, containing, and transporting. For perioperative nurses to advocate for their patients and help ensure effective surgical specimen management, effective communication among care team members is imperative, along with a culture of safety that focuses on the minimization of distractions and an increased awareness of opportunities for errors.
Key words: surgical specimen management, surgical specimen errors, preanalytic phase, error prevention.