The day of your surgery

To help achieve your best possible health outcome, take some time to learn what is likely to happen on the day of your elective surgery. Plan to bring someone with you. It’s essential someone helps you get home safely, or—in some very specific situations—that you have someone who could possibly help with certain decisions about your care. Find out where you need to go, what you can expect to do, who and what to bring, and the type of clinicians who will support you throughout your experience.

Day surgery admission

Both day-stay and overnight-stay patients must present to the Day Of Surgery Admissions reception desk located in the Day Procedure Unit.

Patients need to bring:

  • Medicare Card
  • healthcare card and/or concession card (if you have one)
  • private health insurance card (if applicable and/or you want to use it)
  • x-ray films, scans, ultrasounds, pathology results or any other results or reports
  • medicines you need to take while you are at the hospital
  • adverse drug alert card or a list of adverse reactions from your GP
  • list of current medications.

For Day Surgery:

  • a responsible adult carer to take you home and stay with you for the next 24 hours after anaesthetic
  • comfortable day clothes, or loose fitting clothing.

For Overnight Surgery:

  • dressing gown and slippers, or comfortable day clothes and shoes
  • personal hygiene items
  • something to do such as a book or magazine to read, or an ipad or tablet device with headphones
  • a notepad and pen to jot down any questions for your care team.


You are asked to arrive at a certain time for admission. Patients are generally admitted according to theatre list order. During admission, nursing staff will discuss the structure of the day, including your approximate waiting time.

If you have a medical power of attorney, please make sure they accompany you to your admission.

On some occasions, surgery may need to be cancelled due to emergency surgery taking priority. If this occurs, the waitlist booking office will contact you with a new appointment as soon as one is available.

Theatre admission

During admission:

  • Some admissions can take up to 90 minutes.
  • Nursing and medical staff will confirm with you the procedure you are here for. Your consent will also be confirmed.

You will discuss your procedure with:

  • interpreter (if required)
  • clerical staff
  • nursing staff
  • allied health staff such as physiotherapist (if required)
  • anaesthetist
  • surgeon.

You will be encouraged to ask and confirm any questions you have.

Additional tests such as blood tests, may be performed if they have not already been done.

You will be explained the risks and national health safety standards, such as prevention of falls and maintaining skin integrity.

Nursing staff will provide you with a hospital gown and make sure you are ready for theatre.

Nursing staff will escort you to the operating theatre when you are called for your procedure.


Theatre nursing staff will meet you at the check-in bay in theatre where you will be asked to identify yourself and confirm your procedure and consent.

You will then be escorted by the anaesthetic nurse into the anaesthetic room, and then in to theatre for your procedure.

Theatre recovery

Once your procedure is finished, you will be taken into the recovery room where you will begin recovery from your anaesthetic and procedure.

Once you are stable, you will then be transferred to the Day Procedure Unit if you had day surgery, or the overnight ward if you are staying overnight or longer at the hospital.


Last reviewed October 23, 2017.

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