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The Day of Surgery

You may have some concerns about having surgery. Our staff wants to ensure that all of your questions are answered and you have an excellent patient care experience. This information may help as you prepare for surgery and your journey towards better health at both our Mishawaka and Plymouth locations.

Surgery at the Mishawaka CampusMishawaka Campus

We provide complimentary valet service for our surgical patients from 7 am to 6 pm. Please drive up to the main entrance to utilize this service. If you are arriving for surgery before 7 am or after 6 pm, please park in the parking lot east of the main entrance. Once you enter the hospital, stop at the main registration desk to complete your registration for surgery. After completing your registration, you will be directed to our Surgery Waiting Room. Please check in with our greeter so they can notify our team of your arrival. From the Waiting Room, you will be escorted to a Pre-Op Room where you will be asked to remove clothing and put on a patient gown.

Depending on the type of surgery you are having, you may be asked to cleanse your skin with anti-bacterial wipes. This step is extremely important in helping to lower the risk of infection for certain types of surgery. In Pre-Op, we will begin a thorough process to prepare you for surgery. This preparation may include starting an IV, lab work, an EKG, antibiotic administration, and additional skin preparation.

Our nursing team will review your medical/surgical history, social history, and medications. While these questions may feel repetitive, reviewing your history on the day of surgery ensures that we have the most accurate and up-to-date information. You will also have the opportunity to speak with your surgeon and anesthesiologist in our Pre-Op area before surgery. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Our goal is for you to have the safest and most well-prepared surgical experience possible.

Arrival Time

Your time is valuable to us and we have worked to streamline our process to make it efficient. It is extremely important that you arrive at the time given to you by our pre-surgical testing department or your surgeon’s office so our team can complete the necessary preparation for your surgery without a delay.

During Surgery

The surgery nurse will take you back for your procedure and show anyone with you back to our Surgery Waiting Room. Our greeter will orient them to the tracking board, which will provide updates of your location in the surgical process using a special code created to protect your privacy. Having a loved one in surgery is a very stressful time and our team works hard to keep anyone waiting as informed as possible. Our greeters strive to be a comforting resource for anyone in our Surgery Waiting Room.


If you received a general anesthetic, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) following your surgery. The PACU nurse will be providing one-on-one care for you, paying close attention to your vital signs, incisions, and pain level. The average time in recovery is one to two hours but can vary based on the type of surgery and an individual’s previous experiences with anesthesia. Visitors are not permitted in the PACU to protect the privacy of all our patients. Once you meet criteria to move to the next phase of care, those waiting for you will be notified. If you are going home after your surgery, you will be taken to the Post-Op unit and reunited with visitors in your post-op room. If you are going to be admitted to the hospital after your surgery, you will be reunited with visitors in your inpatient room.

Surgery at the Plymouth CampusPlymouth Campus

Please park on the south side of (behind) the hospital in the area dedicated to our Surgery Center. Register with our receptionist and they will notify our team of your arrival. A nurse will take you to a room and have you change into a gown. A series of questions will be asked to prepare us to fully care for you. At this time, an IV will be placed to hydrate you and will be used throughout your surgery to distribute medications. Your surgeon may have ordered additional tests for the day of surgery that could include blood work or heart monitor (EKG), which will be done at this time as well. After these steps are complete, our surgical team will introduce themselves and may ask a series of brief questions that could be repetitive. Please keep in mind this is all for your safety. Anesthesia staff will explain their procedure to you in detail and will be happy to answer any questions that you or your family may have.


This topic is always hard to relay to patients. Our staff appreciates your time and we realize that everyone is on a schedule. We make every attempt and effort to efficiently care for each individual in a timely manner. However, we do occasionally have delays that occur and unfortunately may affect the time you proceed with your surgery. These delays are usually due to an undetermined event by your surgeon. This may include extra time needed for the surgical case prior to yours or an emergency elsewhere that needs attending. If a delay should occur, you and your family will be notified IMMEDIATELY and updated accordingly.

During Surgery

As you are taken back to surgery, your family member will be given a code to check your status. This will include when your surgery begins, ends and when you are taken to recovery. Your family member will also have a pager that will let them know when your surgery is completed. Our team knows how it feels to have a loved one undergo surgery. For this reason, we try to keep families aware of your status at every stage.


After surgery, patients who are given an anesthetic awaken under constant observation in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit. We keep close watch on blood pressure, pulse and respiration. Ideally, you will wake up with minimal to no pain or discomfort, but if you do experience pain, inform your nurse. Visitors are not permitted in the Care Unit. The average recovery time is 30 minutes to one hour, although each surgery varies. Once cared for in this area, you will be taken back to your pre-surgical room where you will further recover. We strive to reunite you with your family as quickly as possible!

Saint Joseph Health System  |  5215 Holy Cross Parkway, Mishawaka, IN 46545  |  574.335.5000

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