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What Is an Enhanced Recovery Nurse? (ERN)

What Is an Enhanced Recovery Nurse? (ERN)

For those of you having what is deemed as an ‘elective surgery’, you may well be placed under an ERN which is an enhanced recovery programme aided by a trained nurse.

Just to add, the majority of NHS trusts offer this to pre-operative patients but not all trusts have this service.

So, what is an Enhanced Recovery Nurse?

The medical jargon for this is as follows:

The enhanced recovery nurse is a normal nurse that elects to put the enhanced recovery plan into motion. It is a medically proven pathway that aides a quicker recovery, less time spent in hospital and reduces re-admission into hospital after your initial discharge.



What do they do?

The nurse will normally see you a week prior to your operation and will go through the surgical procedure and give you goals to aim for post-surgery.

What does the nurse do?

  • They make sure you’re as healthy as possible prior to the operation
  • They make sure you receive the best care during your operation
  • They make sure you receive the best possible care whilst you are recovering from your surgery

What is the enhanced recovery programme like post operation?

  • What are the expectations for this after surgery?
  • Do you know what they are going to aim for?
  • Are you slightly scared due to the level of surgery being carried out?

The aim of this is to get you up, mobile and off intravenous pain medications as soon as possible. Have the drains and catheter removed as soon as possible and get you out of hospital and home for recovery because there is no place like home.

The goals for you post op will be as follows:

  • On the day of surgery (post-op) once you have been moved up to the ward they will aim to get you sitting out of bed, drinking and possibly eating
  • Day one they will aim to have you sitting out for an extended period of time, walking & eating
  • Day two they will aim to have you showered, walking and in actual clothing that’s not the fetching hospital gown


This may all seem really daunting considering you’ve just had major surgery and you may not be feeling up to it. But all of this will help you recover more quickly, reduce the risk of blood clots and get you back to resuming normal life.


Personal experience

For me I have been under the Enhanced recovery programme twice come October 2018. I can’t fault it and being a woman who has spent 3 months in hospital with previous surgery admissions I can’t wait to get out and get home. The first two days are the hardest but by then I am off intravenous pain medications, back to oral medication and if it wasn’t for a pesky drain back in 2016 I would have been discharged on the Tuesday instead of the Thursday morning.

I can’t recommend this programme enough.


If you have any thoughts or questions, then please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to answer them.


Many thanks for reading

Louise X


All information from the NHS UK website and Booklet given to me via email from my ERN nurse

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