Patient Positioning

Patient positioning is an essential aspect of nursing practice. In surgeries , proper positioning provides optimal exposure of the surgical site and maintenance of the patient’s dignity by controlling unnecessary exposure. Additionally, positioning patients provides airway management and ventilation, maintaining body alignment, and provide physiologic safety.

Here is a cheat sheet of some common patient positions and their uses

Fowler’s Position - Semi-sitting position with various degrees of head elevation with knees slighty elevated
Purposes: vary based on elevation, often used for patients who have cardiac issues, trouble breathing, or a nasogastric tube in place.

Supine Position - Lying on the back with arms at sides.
Purposes: For physical examination, resting in bed, undergoing anesthesia , and is often used in surgery for abdominal, facial, and extremity procedures.
Sim’s Position - Lying on the left side in semiprone position with right leg flexed and drawn up toward the chest; the left arm is positioned along the patient's back
Purposes: For rectal examinations and administering enemas.

Reverse Trendelenburg Position - Lying on back with arms at sides, bed positioned so that head is higher than foot, but no flexion at waist.
Purposes: This position may be used in surgery to help promote perfusion in obese patients. It can also be helpful in treating venous air embolism and preventing pulmonary aspiration.

Prone Position - A position where the patient lies on his stomach with his back up. The head is typically turned to one side. 
Purposes: To improve oxygenation in patients with acute respiratory distress. This position allows for drainage of the mouth after oral or neck surgery. It also allows for full flexion of knee and hip joints.

Lithotomy Position - Lying on back with knees flexed above the hips and legs supported in stirrups 
Purposes: Commonly used for gynecological procedures and childbirth.

Lateral Position -Lying in the left or right side, supported behind back and between knees and ankles with pillows, in good body alignment. A pillow is often placed in between the legs for patient comfort.
Purposes: For patient comfort and to promote lung and cardiac function. 


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