Can Nurses Do Stitches? (Yes/No, Who Can, Training, FAQs)

Can Nurses Do Stitches?

When it comes to wound care, the question often arises: Can nurses do stitches?

This article explores the topic of nurses and stitches, delving into their scope of practice, training, and competencies in wound closure. 

By examining the collaboration between nurses and other healthcare professionals and the considerations and limitations, we can gain insights into the extent of a nurse’s involvement in patient care.

What are Stitches in the Body?

Stitches are medical procedures that hold the body tissues together after an injury or surgery.

A threaded needle is a common tool for this purpose. The doctor will use scissors to snip the knots in the sutures carefully and then carefully draw the threads out.

The doctor will use a tool to pry out the staples one by one. The area may be sore even after removing the sutures or staples.

It may take a few weeks for all types to dissolve or fall out completely, but you should see results within a week or two.

Some of these could go on for a few months.

How Do Nurses Practice?

The scope of practice for nurses varies depending on their level of education, training, and the regulations set by their respective nursing boards or regulatory bodies. 

Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare system and provide many patient care services, including wound care and management.

When it comes to wound closure and stitches, the scope of practice for nurses may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific policies of the healthcare facility. 

Some nurses may have the training and authority to perform simple wound closures, such as suturing minor and uncomplicated wounds, under the supervision of a physician or advanced practice nurse. 

They may be skilled in assessing the need for stitches, preparing the wound site, administering local anesthesia, and applying appropriate sutures.

However, it’s important to note that the scope of practice for nurses may not typically include more complex wound closures or procedures that involve deep tissue layers or high-risk areas. 

Nurses may collaborate with physicians or other specialized healthcare professionals with advanced surgical techniques training in such cases.

They are knowledgeable about infection control practices, wound dressing techniques, and patient education related to wound care. 

They are critical in promoting wound healing, preventing complications, and ensuring patient comfort and safety.

Can Nurses Do Stitches?

In many states, nurses are authorized to remove stitches, but this practice can vary depending on the location, the stage of wound healing, and the risk of complications. 

Nurses must assess the wound and ensure it has healed sufficiently before proceeding with stitch removal. 

They must also obtain approval from the physician or follow specific protocols established by the healthcare facility.

The physician’s assessment is essential to determine if there are any concerns, such as the risk of infection or other health issues, that may require the stitches to remain in place for a longer duration. 

The physician’s guidance ensures the safety and well-being of the patient throughout the healing process.

The nurse can remove the stitches once the appropriate time has passed and the patient’s wound has adequately healed. 

Healthcare facilities must have established procedures and guidelines for suture or stitch removal to ensure consistent and safe practices among staff members.

Following these guidelines and protocols ensures the proper removal of stitches, promotes patient safety, and reduces the risk of complications. 

Nurses are vital in coordinating and implementing these procedures, collaborating with the healthcare team, and providing appropriate wound care to support optimal patient healing outcomes.

Who Can Stitch Patients?

Physicians, surgeons, and some advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are typically authorized to perform sutures on patients. 

In some states, registered nurses who are not APRNs may be allowed to perform sutures, but their scope of practice is often limited and supervised by physicians. 

This means they may be restricted from invasive suturing procedures involving tendons, muscles, or blood vessels.

The ability of a nurse to suture patients and the extent to which they can do so depend on several factors, including state laws, the nurse’s scope of practice, and their level of education and training. 

Nurses need to adhere to these regulations and work within their designated scope of practice to ensure patient safety and the delivery of quality care.

Ultimately, the decision to perform sutures is based on the nurse’s qualifications, the specific requirements of their practice setting, and the guidance of supervising physicians. 

Collaboration between healthcare professionals is critical to providing patients with comprehensive and effective wound care.

Nurse Training and Competency in Wound Closure

Nurses play a crucial role in wound care and closure, and their training and competency in this area are essential to ensure patient safety and effective wound healing. 

While the specific training and competency requirements may vary based on state regulations and healthcare facility policies, there are general principles and practices that nurses should adhere to.

Nursing education programs typically cover wound care and closure as part of their curriculum. 

Nurses receive theoretical knowledge and practical training on wound assessment, infection control, wound closure techniques, and proper suture removal procedures. 

They learn about the principles of aseptic technique, wound healing stages, and factors influencing wound closure outcomes.

To enhance their competency in wound closure, nurses may also pursue additional training and certification programs. 

Why Purse Additional Training?

These programs/training offer specialized education on advanced wound closure techniques, wound assessment, management, and using different wound closure materials and devices. 

Competency in wound closure goes beyond technical skills. 

Nurses must also possess excellent critical thinking and decision-making abilities to assess wounds accurately and determine the most appropriate closure method. 

They must consider factors such as the type and location of the wound, the patient’s overall health condition, and any specific healthcare provider requirements or preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions: Can Nurses Do Stitches?

Can all nurses perform sutures?

No, not all nurses can perform sutures. The ability to perform sutures is typically restricted to physicians, surgeons, and some advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have received the necessary education and training.

What is the difference between a nurse suturing and a physician suturing?

The main difference lies in the scope of practice and level of training. Physicians undergo extensive education and training in suturing techniques, including complex procedures. Depending on their certification level and state regulations, nurses may need more suturing abilities and are often supervised by physicians.

Are nurses allowed to suture in all states?

No, the regulations regarding nurse suturing vary from state to state. Some states allow registered nurses to perform sutures under certain conditions and limitations, while others may restrict the practice to physicians and APRNs. Nurses must be aware of their state’s regulations and adhere to their designated scope of practice.

Can nurses remove sutures?

Yes, in many states, nurses are authorized to remove sutures once the wound has sufficiently healed and there is no risk of infection. However, nurses must ensure they have received appropriate training and follow established protocols and guidelines for suture removal.

What factors determine a nurse’s ability to suture?

Several factors influence a nurse’s ability to suture, including state laws, education and certification level, and workplace policies. The decision to allow nurses to suture patients and the extent of their suturing abilities are often determined by the nurse’s qualifications, experience, and the guidance of supervising physicians.


While the ability to perform stitches may vary depending on the nurse’s scope of practice, education, and institutional policies, nurses receive training and develop competencies in wound management. 

Collaboration with other healthcare professionals ensures that patients receive comprehensive and coordinated care. 

The involvement of nurses in wound closure highlights their integral role in patient recovery and well-being. 

By adhering to professional standards and guidelines, nurses contribute to safe and effective wound care practices, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes.

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