5 Thyroidectomy Nursing Care Plans

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Thyroidectomy Nursing Care Plans

Thyroidectomy, although rare, may be performed for patients with thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, and drug reactions to antithyroid agents; pregnant women who cannot be managed with drugs; patients who do not want radiation therapy; and patients with large goiters who do not respond to anti-thyroid drugs.

The two types of thyroidectomy include:

  1. Total thyroidectomy: The gland is removed completely. Usually done in the case of malignancy. Thyroid replacement therapy is necessary for life.
  2. Subtotal thyroidectomy: Up to five-sixths of the gland is removed when antithyroid drugs do not correct hyperthyroidism or RAI therapy is contraindicated.

Nursing Care Plans

Thyroidectomy requires meticulous postoperative nursing care to prevent complications.

Here are five (5) thyroidectomy nursing care plans:

  1. Acute Pain
  2. Risk for Impaired Airway Clearance
  3. Impaired Verbal Communication
  4. Risk for Injury
  5. Deficient Knowledge

Nursing Priorities

  1. Reverse/manage hyperthyroid state preoperatively.
  2. Prevent complications.
  3. Relieve pain.
  4. Provide information about surgical procedure, prognosis, and treatment needs.

Discharge Goals

  1. Complications prevented/minimized.
  2. Pain alleviated.
  3. Surgical procedure/prognosis and therapeutic regimen understood.
  4. Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.
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Acute Pain: Unpleasant sensory and emotional experience arising from actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage; sudden or slow onset of any intensity from mild to severe with anticipated or predictable end and a duration of <6 months.

May be related to

  • Surgical interruption/manipulation of tissues/muscles
  • Postoperative edema

Possibly evidenced by

  • Reports of pain
  • Narrowed focus; guarding behavior; restlessness
  • Autonomic responses

Desired Outcomes

  • Report pain is relieved/controlled.
  • Demonstrate use of relaxation skills and diversional activities appropriate to situation.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess verbal and nonverbal reports of pain, noting location, intensity (0–10 scale), and duration.Useful in evaluating pain, choice of interventions, effectiveness of therapy.
Place in semi-Fowler’s position and support head and neck with sandbags or small pillows.Prevents hyperextension of the neck and protects integrity of the suture line.
Maintain head and neck in neutral position and support during position changes. Instruct patient to use hands to support neck during movement and to avoid hyperextension of neck.Prevents stress on the suture line and reduces muscle tension.
Keep call bell and frequently needed items within easy reach.Limits stretching, muscle strain in operative area.
Give cool liquids or soft foods, such as ice cream or popsicles.Although both may be soothing to sore throat, soft foods may be tolerated better than liquids if patient experiences difficulty swallowing.
Encourage patient to use relaxation techniques: guided imagery, soft music, progressive relaxation.Helps refocus attention and assists patient to manage pain and/or discomfort more effectively.
Administer analgesics and/or analgesic throat sprays and lozenges as necessary.Reduces pain and discomfort; enhances rest.
Provide ice collar if indicated.Reduces tissue edema and decreases perception of pain.
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See Also


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Endocrine and Metabolic Care Plans


Nursing care plans related to the endocrine system and metabolism:

Further Reading


Recommended books and resources:

  1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes
  2. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
  3. Nursing Diagnoses 2015-17: Definitions and Classification
  4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR)
  5. Manual of Psychiatric Nursing Care Planning
  6. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans
  7. Delmar's Maternal-Infant Nursing Care Plans, 2nd Edition
  8. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans

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