Assessment of the patient going to surgery is crucial to managing perioperative risk. The office nurse often is the health care professional responsible for conducting the preoperative screening history and physical examination. As with all baseline data, preoperative findings are recorded for transmission to the surgical team and postoperative care managers. Accurate data allow for evaluation of the patient's intra- and postoperative status and for planning postoperative care. Astute assessment skills and timely communication with the physician may mean the difference between a desired outcome and a preventable complication.