5 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. Nursing priorities will include managing hyperthyroid state preoperatively, relieving pain, providing information about the surgical procedure, prognosis, and treatment needs, and preventing complications.

Here are five (5) nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis for thyroidectomy:

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

Acute Pain

Nursing Diagnosis

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

  • Client will report relief or control of pain.
  • Client will demonstrate the use of relaxation skills and diversional activities appropriate to the 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, the 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 the integrity of the suture line.
Maintain head and neck in a neutral position and support during position changes. Instruct patient to use hands to support the neck during movement and to avoid hyperextension of the 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 the 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.Help refocus attention and assist the 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 the perception of pain.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other nursing care plans related to endocrine system and metabolism disorders:


Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.
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