Do Nurses Do Stitches?

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Do nurses do stitches? In short, no RN’s are not able to stitch on their own.

However, the answer does get a bit more complicated – there are certain types of nurses who get special training to stitch. Most nurses don’t get trained to suture or stitch, but advanced practices nurses (nurse practitioners) are one example of an exception.

Today I’ll be going over which nurses can do stitches, what certifications you need, and how you can learn.

Whether you’re a nursing student, or thinking about nursing school, it’s important to understand what is in the Registered Nurse (RN) scope of practice.

What Types of Nurses Can Suture or Stitch?

The answer to this question can be a bit complicated, however, the simple answer is that any nurse trained to suture can suture. There are many different types of nurses that encounter stitching commonly throughout the day.

Nurse practicing stiches.

The most common examples are: Nurse Practitioners, Operating Room Nurses, First Assists (Registered Nurse First Assist), Emergency Department Nurses, Wound Nurses.

What Certifications Do Nurses Need to Stitch?

A registered nurse (RN) license does not necessarily permit nurses to stitch. However, some advanced practice nurses will learn during their training. In addition, during RNFA certification classes, nurses are expected to be able to stitch.

Can Nurses Remove Stitches?

A registered nurse (RN) can remove stitches if their facility policies allow for it. Although, typically nurses are allowed to remove stitches.

Do Nurses Learn to Stitch in Nursing School?

Nurses do not learn how to stitch in nursing school. A nurse can learn to stitch either from a First Assist program, Advanced Practice program, or from a preceptor (such as a surgeon).

There are a lot of different programs out there that teach nurses to suture (source). Most commonly nurses will learn during a first assistant or RNFA program. However, I have come across a lot of nurses in the operating room that get trained to stitch by the surgeon they work for.

What is Suture?

A surgical suture is a medical device used to hold body tissues together. Typically sutures are made from silk, nylon, or animal body parts (source).

Stitches vs Sutures

It is common to mistake the differences between stitches and sutures. Suture are the strands or threads attached to the needle used to close a wound. Stitches or stitching is the actual act of closing the wound with suture.

It is common for nurses or doctors to refer to stitching as “suturing”, however it is not technically correct.

What is Suturing?

Suturing is the act of stitching or closing a wound/incision with a suture. Suturing is often done when the edges of a wound or surgical incision won’t approximate without help. A wound might need stiches to help heal appropriately.

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