Before surgery


In the waiting room a nurse will greet you and your child. The nurse will weigh your child, take observations and place identity bands on your child’s arm and leg. At some point, your child will need to change into a hospital gown prior to going to the operating theatre.

Often your child will be seen by an anaesthetist prior to theatre. The anaesthetist will ask you a few questions about your child. This is a good time to ask the anaesthetist or nurse any questions you may have.

You and your child will wait in the waiting room until a theatre is ready.

Will there be a wait before theatre?
Yes, there is likely to be a little bit of time waiting before your child goes to theatre. The nurses in the waiting room cannot control how long you and your child will be waiting before surgery, however we will keep you informed about any delays.

Food and drink in the waiting room
No food or drink is allowed in the waiting room. This is to help prevent fasting children from accidently eating or drinking anything prior to surgery.

The trip to theatre
Only two adults may accompany your child into the theatre waiting area. You can either carry your child or he/she can be taken on his/her bed or cot.

Arriving at theatre
The theatre complex is a busy environment and can be a little noisy. On arriving to the theatre area you will be brought into the holding bay area where the theatre nurses will admit your child to theatre. They will check your child’s name band, consent form and ask you some questions.

If you haven’t already met the anaesthetist and surgeon you and your child will do so in the theatre waiting area. You will also meet a pre-operative nurse and anaesthetic nurse.

You can speak to the anaesthetist or surgeon who will be caring for your child during his/her operation. The anaesthetist will explain how your child will go off to sleep and explain your role coming into theatre as your child’s carer.

Always ask if there is anything you are worried about or unsure of.

One parent/carer may accompany their child into theatre until he/she is asleep.

You will be given a cap and a gown to wear over your clothing. You may also be given an estimated time for the surgery. Please remember, different procedures take different times and sometimes it can take a little longer than expected.

The anaesthetic
Your child may be placed on the operating table with you standing next to him/her or you may sit on a chair and nurse your child. Children can go to sleep either with a mask on their face or via medicine into a drip. The anaesthetists will explain how your child will go to asleep and what to expect when he/she does go to sleep.

Once your child falls asleep, you will be accompanied out of theatre to the waiting room.

View information sheet: Children’s anaesthetics – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To learn more about the Department of Paediatric Anaesthesia at Monash Children’s Hospital, please visit the Anaesthetics page.

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