Background: The operating theatre is a unique demanding environment. Taking for granted that patient safety has become a health policy priority around the world the application of practice guidelines in the operating theatre is a key-element not only in providing safe nursing care of high quality but also in their succeessful management. Aim : The aim of the present study was to a) explore the existence of practice guidelines in Greek operating theatres b) to derect problems at their application and c) to evaluate opinions of Nursing Administration regaring them. Method and material: The present study was a descriptive one. The sample study consissted of 197 hospitals which included operating theatre. The data were collected by using a self-completed questionnaire specially constructed for the needs of the research. Analysis of data was performed using the SPSS 10 statistical package and the descriptive methodology was applied for the statistical process. Results: 49% of the hospitals reported existence of practice guidelines, of which 6% applied written practice guidelines. Of the 49% hospitals, in 51% of them, the practice guidelines were applied satisfactorily, whereas 34,6% reported facing problems at their application. Regarding the causes of the problems at the application of practice guidelines, 26,5% reported to be insufficient management, 8,2% reported to be insufficient education, 8,2% reported to be bad collaboration, mainly with doctors and 4,1% reported to be overworking. According to the reports of the participants, as essential parameters for the successful application of practice guidelines in clinical practise, percentage of 46,9% reported to be the support from administration of hospital and percentage of 42,9% reported to be education. Conclusions: The results of the present study illustrate that standardization in Greek operating theatres is not at a satisfactory level. Practise guidelines and especially the written ones limit the capacity for individual discretion and reduce clinical errors. It is of fundamental importance, to facilitate their acceptance and adoption of all Greek hospitals in order to ensure higher quality of care.
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