Can Nurses Do Stitches | Suture Practices and FAQ

Whether nurses can suture/stitch depends on state laws and the nurse’s training. In most cases, nurses cannot do stitches because it’s not a non-invasive procedure/minor surgical operation.

Therefore, it does not fall within most nurses’ scope of duties.

In other words, nurses are not ordinarily responsible for stitching procedures or other similar tasks.

In limited cases and under the right circumstances, nurses may perform stitching under the supervision of an experienced physician.

However, it must be legally acceptable under state laws.

This is because state laws restrict nurses’ ability to perform suturing and other surgical procedures.

Furthermore, the stitches nurses can perform under these circumstances are fairly limited.

Registered nurses support and assist physicians with medical procedure preparation.

It includes administering medication, coordinating care plans, educating patients on surgical procedures, changing dressings, cleaning wounds, and starting IVs.

With that said, highly trained advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) can suture patients.

This is because APRNs specialize in providing advanced care and have extensive training.

Therefore, their scope of practice is much wider than a registered nurse.

Even more, some states allow APRNs to prescribe medications, act as primary caregivers, and even open clinics.

However, APRNs’ scope of prices depends on their specialization, training, state laws, and facility guidelines.

Before performing suturing, non-APRN nurses must determine their state’s laws to ensure the procedure is legal.

Furthermore, an experienced physician must train and supervise them to manage the process properly.

This is essential for patient safety and health and following legal best practices.

Can Nurses Remove Stitches

In many states, nurses can remove stitches. However, it depends on the location, how much the wound has healed, and the risk of stitch removal.

Nurses must determine that the wound has properly healed and there is no risk of infection before removing stitches.

This is vital to ensure that the patient has no issues or complications after removal.

Furthermore, nurses may require approval from the physician before removal to ensure that it’s appropriate.

This is because the physician must assess the wound before delegating the stitches removal.

This is especially valid if there is a chance of infection or health concerns.

In this case, the physician may require the stitches to remain in place to ensure proper healing.

After adequate time passes and the patient is sufficiently healed, the stitches can be removed.

Finally, healthcare facilities implement suture/stitch removal procedures that must be followed to ensure proper patient safety.

These guidelines impact how to remove stitches and must be followed by the staff members.

State Laws and Scope of Practice

State laws determine a nurse’s scope of practice and impact whether they can perform suturing or stitch removal.

As a result, a nurse’s ability to suture varies by state and professional experience.

In most cases, registered nurses that are not APRNs do not perform sutures.

However, registered nurses can remove stitches in most states.

They must be trained and follow the facility’s guidelines to ensure proper patient care.

Under certain circumstances (if the state allows), registered nurses may perform sutures under the supervision of a trained physician.

Healthcare Facility Guidelines and Policies

Most healthcare facilities have guidelines and policies regarding performing and removing sutures/stitches.

These policies ensure patient health by providing a standardized process.

The process reduces errors, improves safety, minimizes infections, and ensures sanitary guidelines are followed.

As a result, patients and healthcare providers feel more confident and comfortable during the procedure.

Facility guidelines and policies vary depending on the healthcare office.

This is important because different facilities have the equipment, practices, and specialized medical professionals.

Moreover, guidelines ensure that healthcare providers follow state laws and practices properly.

Therefore, nurses must determine the company’s guidelines before performing certain patient tasks, such as suturing or intubating patients.

Who Can Stitch/Suture Patients?

Physicians, surgeons, and some advanced practice registered nurses can suture patients.

Suturing is considered a minor surgical procedure in many states.

As a result, it requires the expertise of a trained medical healthcare professional with sufficient experience and education.

With that said, if a state does allow a registered nurse (non-APRN) to perform sutures, it is often limited and supervised by a physician.

This means that they aren’t allowed to perform anything that could be considered an invasive suturing procedure.

For instance, suturing involves interacting with tendons, muscles, or blood vessels.

As always, state laws, the nurse’s scope of practice, and their education/training determine whether they can suture patients and to what extent.

What About Surgical Nurse Practitioners?

A surgical nurse practitioner is an APRN that specializes in patient care dealing with surgical procedures.

As a result, they’re found in emergency care centers, ICUs, recovery rooms, and other emergency departments.

These healthcare professionals work alongside registered nurses and physicians to ensure adequate patient care.

Their responsibilities include administering medications, performing tests, monitoring patient vitals, and assisting surgeons before, during, and after surgical operations.

In addition, due to their advanced training, surgical nurses can perform suturing and remove stitches.

In many cases, surgical nurse practitioners work under the surgeon’s supervision and assist in the surgery and recovery process.

As with other APRNs, whether they perform suturing depends on the department’s policies and procedures.

Finally, surgical nurse practitioners specialize in distinct fields.

It includes pediatric care, ICUs, emergency departments, neurosurgery, and plastic surgery.

As a result, the kinds of suturing/stitch removal they perform can vary dramatically.

Unfortunately, there are few blanket policies regarding the scope of practice surgical nurse practitioners have.

As a result, their ability to perform certain invasive procedures, administer medications, and open clinics varies by state.

What to Do if Asked to Suture a Patient

Before committing to suturing a patient, nurses (non-APRNs) must check state laws to ensure that they follow proper, legal healthcare practices.

They must also ensure that the healthcare facility allows them to perform suturing and follow its guidelines.

Finally, nurses must be trained in performing suturing and consult a trained doctor/physician for supervision to ensure they are properly performing the procedure.

Because suturing is a minor surgical procedure, nurses should consult the physician if they have concerns or questions.

This instills confidence in everyone involved and ensures patients receive the correct treatment.