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Do I need a Registered Nurse for my surgery center or OBL?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

The feasibility of running an Outpatient-Based Surgery Center (OBL) or Surgery Center without a registered nurse depends on various factors, including the regulations and requirements of your specific location and the types of procedures and care provided. Here are some key considerations:

Here comes the night shift nurse

  1. Regulations and Licensing: The regulatory requirements for OBLs and Surgery Centers can vary by state and country. Many jurisdictions have specific regulations that mandate the presence of registered nurses or other qualified medical professionals as part of the healthcare team.

  2. Patient Safety: Patient safety is of paramount importance in any healthcare setting. Registered nurses are trained to provide comprehensive nursing care, including assessment, monitoring, and patient education. Their presence can enhance patient safety and quality of care.

  3. Scope of Services: The types of procedures and services offered at the center play a significant role. Some procedures may be less invasive and require less intensive nursing care, while others may demand the continuous presence of a registered nurse or other healthcare professionals.

  4. Anesthesia and Sedation: If the facility provides procedures that involve anesthesia or sedation, there are often strict requirements for the presence of registered nurses or nurse anesthetists to monitor patients during and after the procedure.

  5. Emergency Situations: In case of medical emergencies or unexpected complications, having a registered nurse with advanced life support skills can be critical. They are trained to assess and respond to emergencies effectively.

  6. Patient Volume and Case Complexity: The volume of cases and the complexity of patients' needs can influence the staffing requirements. Facilities with a higher patient volume or those that handle complex cases may be more likely to require registered nurses.

  7. Collaborative Practice: In some cases, OBLs and Surgery Centers may collaborate with other healthcare facilities or professionals to ensure adequate nursing care is available when needed, even if a registered nurse is not present on-site at all times.


  1. Liability and Malpractice Insurance: The facility's liability and malpractice insurance may have specific requirements regarding the qualifications and roles of healthcare providers, including registered nurses.

  2. Patient Expectations: Consider patient expectations and the reputation of the facility. Patients may prefer or expect to have a registered nurse as part of their care team for certain procedures.

  3. Summation: It can become human nature to want to save money for your business whenever possible, but this being said, it should never come at the expense of patient care. A good question to ask yourself is, can I provide a better form of care by having a nurse versus not supplying a nurse? Hopefully, you say yes and then you've already decided your dilemma.


In many cases, it's common for OBLs and Surgery Centers to have registered nurses as part of their staff to ensure patient safety and regulatory compliance. However, specific staffing requirements may vary by location and the services provided. It's essential to consult with legal and regulatory authorities, as well as healthcare professionals, to determine the staffing requirements that apply to your specific facility.

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