The intention of this article is to investigate what significance the goals of a standard care plan have on individual nursing care when caring for patients for fast-track surgery. The intention is also to give an idea of how to combine standardization and individualization. The study was carried out on the basis of method-triangulation, and it comprises systematic information retrieval supported by a paradigm case, a document analysis and interviews.

The empiric results are discussed on the basis of various theories of nursing care. The overall results show that it can be difficult to combine both the goals of the standard care plan and individual nursing care. There is also the risk that the standard care plan will interfere in the relationship between the nurse, the patient and the patient’s integrity.

The nurse must use her/his professional judgement when interacting with the patient in order to find acceptable solutions so that fast-track surgery evidence-based recommendations are met as fully as possible. The nurse must develop the competence to consider both the physical and psychological dimensions of nursing care.