Who Performs Stitches: Nurses or Doctors? Unveiling the Roles and Responsibilities in Wound Closure

In the realm of healthcare, the process of closing wounds through sutures, commonly known as stitches, plays a crucial role in promoting healing and preventing infection. However, there is often confusion surrounding who exactly performs this task: nurses or doctors? To shed light on this matter, it is important to understand the roles and responsibilities of both healthcare professionals. While doctors typically have the primary responsibility for diagnosing and devising treatment plans, nurses often play a vital role in executing those plans and providing direct patient care. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of wound closure, exploring the respective contributions of nurses and doctors in this essential aspect of healthcare delivery.

The Role of Nurses in Wound Closure: A Closer Look at their Expertise and Training

When it comes to wound closure, nurses play a significant role in providing care and ensuring the healing process progresses smoothly. While doctors may be responsible for diagnosing and developing treatment plans, nurses are often the ones who execute these plans and carry out the actual suturing procedures.

Nurses are highly skilled professionals who receive specialized training in wound care and closure techniques. They learn to assess the severity of wounds, determine the appropriate suture materials and techniques, and ensure proper wound hygiene. Additionally, nurses are trained to evaluate the healing progress, identify signs of infection or complications, and provide necessary post-operative care.

Nursing education programs typically include comprehensive coursework on wound management, which covers topics such as wound assessment, suturing techniques, wound dressings, and infection prevention. Through clinical rotations and hands-on experiences, nurses acquire the necessary proficiency to perform stitches competently.

Furthermore, nurses often work closely with doctors and collaborate as a team to provide holistic patient care. While doctors may perform complex or intricate suturing in specialized cases, nurses are relied upon for routine wound closure and follow-up care.

In summary, nurses play a crucial role in wound closure, leveraging their expertise, specialized training, and collaboration with doctors to ensure optimal patient outcomes. Their knowledge and skills contribute significantly to the overall success of the healing process.

The Surgical Expertise of Doctors in Wound Closure: Understanding their Specialized Skills

When it comes to the delicate task of wound closure, doctors bring their specialized surgical expertise to the table. Their training and experience equip them with the skills necessary to perform precise and intricate suturing techniques, particularly in complex cases.

Doctors, specifically those in surgical specialties such as general surgery, plastic surgery, or orthopedics, receive extensive training in wound closure as part of their medical education. They learn various suturing techniques, including interrupted sutures, continuous sutures, and subcuticular sutures, tailored to specific wound types and locations. Moreover, doctors gain proficiency in selecting the appropriate suture materials, considering factors such as wound tension, cosmetic outcome, and tissue compatibility.

In addition to their technical skills, doctors possess a deep understanding of wound healing principles and the ability to assess the overall health of a patient. They can evaluate the wound’s complexity, assess underlying structures, and make informed decisions regarding closure methods and potential adjunctive treatments.

While nurses often handle routine wound closures, doctors are called upon for more complex cases, such as large lacerations, deep wounds involving vital structures, or wounds requiring reconstructive or cosmetic procedures. In such scenarios, their surgical expertise and precision are invaluable in achieving optimal outcomes.

In summary, doctors bring their specialized surgical expertise to wound closure procedures, leveraging their training, experience, and knowledge of wound healing principles. Their skills are particularly vital in complex cases, ensuring meticulous closure and contributing to successful patient recovery.

Collaborative Approach: Nurses and Doctors Working Together for Effective Wound Closure

In the realm of wound closure, a collaborative approach between nurses and doctors is crucial for ensuring effective patient care. Both professionals bring unique skills and expertise to the table, complementing each other’s roles and working together to achieve optimal outcomes.

Nurses, with their specialized training in wound care, play a vital role in the initial assessment of wounds, including evaluating their severity, determining appropriate dressings, and providing wound care instructions to patients. They often initiate the wound closure process by cleaning and preparing the wound site, applying topical medications, and assisting with anesthesia administration when required.

Doctors, on the other hand, bring their surgical expertise to the equation. They perform the actual suturing procedures, particularly in cases requiring complex techniques or involving critical anatomical structures. Doctors also play a crucial role in making important decisions regarding wound management, such as selecting the appropriate suture materials, considering the patient’s overall health, and determining the need for additional interventions or consultations with specialists.

The collaboration between nurses and doctors extends beyond the actual procedure. Nurses provide ongoing wound care, monitoring for signs of infection or complications, and ensuring proper healing. They communicate with doctors, reporting any changes in the wound’s condition and seeking their guidance when necessary.

By working collaboratively, nurses and doctors ensure that patients receive comprehensive and coordinated care throughout the wound closure process. Their combined efforts enhance patient safety, improve outcomes, and promote efficient healing.

Factors Influencing the Decision: When and Why Nurses or Doctors Perform Stitches

The decision of whether nurses or doctors perform stitches is influenced by various factors, including the nature and complexity of the wound, the healthcare setting, and the availability of resources and expertise.

In many healthcare settings, nurses are often the frontline caregivers responsible for wound care and routine wound closure. They are skilled in basic suturing techniques and are proficient in handling uncomplicated wounds, such as small lacerations or simple surgical incisions. Nurses play a critical role in providing timely wound closure, promoting healing, and preventing infections.

However, for more complex or challenging cases, doctors are usually called upon. Doctors possess advanced surgical skills and expertise that are particularly valuable in intricate wound closures, such as those involving delicate structures, extensive trauma, or the need for reconstructive techniques. Specialists, such as plastic surgeons or orthopedic surgeons, may be involved in cases requiring specialized knowledge and techniques.

Collaboration between nurses and doctors is essential in determining the most appropriate approach for each patient’s wound closure. Factors such as the patient’s overall health, wound complexity, and the need for specialized care are carefully considered when making these decisions. The goal is to ensure that the patient receives the highest quality of care, with the right professional performing the stitches based on their expertise and the specific needs of the case.


In conclusion, the question of who performs stitches, nurses or doctors, is not a straightforward one. Both nurses and doctors play integral roles in the wound closure process, each bringing unique skills and expertise to the table. Nurses are trained in wound care and often handle routine closures, while doctors possess specialized surgical skills and handle complex cases. Collaboration between these healthcare professionals is essential for providing comprehensive patient care. By working together, they ensure effective wound closure, optimal healing, and successful patient outcomes. Ultimately, the decision of who performs stitches depends on factors such as the nature of the wound, the complexity of the case, and the availability of resources and expertise. The collective efforts of nurses and doctors contribute to the overall quality and success of the wound closure process.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.