Operating suite The hospitals of the French-speaking Valais

The operating suite is the structure accommodating all the operating theatres, a recovery room, a location for equipment storage, management offices and training rooms.

As a veritable hub for the day-to-day management of patients undergoing a scheduled or emergency surgical intervention, the operating suite is a location that supports a very wide range of activities.

It occupies a central location in a hospital due to its continual interactions with the various department.

It combines within its perimeter multidisciplinary teams such as surgeons, doctors, nurse anaesthetists, operating theatre nurses (theatre nurses, operating theatre technicians, and ward aids), recovery room nurses, perfusionists, medical radiology technicians, trainers, suite managers, cleaning specialists, logisticians and administrative staff.

This enclosed space meets the requirements of very strict operational and hygiene rules and protocols so as to ensure a minimum level of contamination. After each operation, the operating theatres are completely cleared in order to facilitate their cleaning and decontamination before receiving the next patient.

In this environment that is often perceived as hostile, a caring and empathic ambience prevails for the patient, whose well-being and safety are the priorities for everyone intervening.

Patient management and experience

  1. The patient is cared for and accompanied from their room through to the transfer unit by staff of the hospitalisation department (or accident and emergency)
  2. From the transfer unit, the patient is taken to the preparation room
  3. In the preparation room (pre-anaesthesia) they receive explanations concerning the conduct of the procedures and subsequent management, which is detailed to them by the anaesthesia team. This is where the patient is prepared for anaesthesia (venous administration, with patient comfort in mind)
  4. The patient is then taken to the operating room where all the team are waiting for them. At this stage the anaesthetic is administered and the operation carried out as planned.
  5. Once the operation has been completed, the patient is woken up and taken to the recovery room.

Throughout their time there the patient is accompanied and monitored.


The day-to-day activity within the operating suite is co-ordinated by the suite manager, the head nurses of the treatment unit, and duty anaesthesia physician, under the supervision of the head of the suite. The role of the operating suites management team is to ensure the smooth running of the daily schedule, to prioritise operations, and to respond to emergencies.

Elective schedules (operations scheduled for a specific appointment) are confirmed 48 hours in advance.

Emergencies have a significant impact on the schedule and pattern of the day’s work in an operating suite. The daily schedule is therefore adapted by the duty physician (anaesthesia).

For the Valais Romand Hospital Centre, there are no fewer than 150 staff working in the operating suites, divided over 3 sites (Sion, Sierre, and Martigny).

Every day, approximately 50 professionals accompany patients to the operating suite at the Sion hospital. In the Sierre and Martigny hospitals they are supervised and monitored by approximately twenty staff.

Hospital departments

The following specialist fields intervene in the CHVR operating suites: cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, general and visceral surgery, neurosurgery, ORL (oto-rhino-laryngology), thoracic surgery, orthopaedic surgery and traumatology, gynaecology, obstetrics, paediatric surgery, urology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, maxillofacial surgery, ophthalmology, angiology (treatment of chronic pain), anaesthesiology and resuscitation.

The main role of operating theatre staff

  • Theatre nurse
    Manages sterile medical/surgical instruments as well as all related consumables through the operation. Ensures compliance with hygiene rules.
  • Ward aide / rotational theatre nurse
    Receives and installs the patient in the operating suite. Passes sterile equipment to the theatre nurse during the operation. Manages various items of equipment (coagulation, ensuring imaging equipment is protectively covered, operating theatre scialytic lamp, etc...).
  • Medical radiology technologist (MRT)
    Deals with radiology screens (the patient’s medical imaging). Supervises radioprotection for each individual intervening in the theatre.
  • Surgical physician assistant
    Assists the surgeon during the operation during their on-going training
  • Anaesthetist nurse
    Manages the patient’s anaesthesia (general or locoregional) throughout all operations, under the supervision of the anaesthetist physician.
  • Anaesthetist physician
    Responsible for anaesthesia, supervises the operation
  • Surgeon
    The main operator responsible for the surgical operation