The report by the Chief Medical Officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson, backed the use of the World Health Organisation surgical safety checklist in operations.
Under the terms of the checklist, nurses will have to give pre-operative hygiene and equipment reports.
They will also confirm the name of the patient, the site of the operation and the procedure being performed.
Once the operation is finished, they will verbally confirm the name of the procedure is recorded, that instrument, sponge and needle counts are correct, how the specimen is labelled and whether there are any equipment problems to be addressed.
They will then review with the surgeon and anaesthesia professional any concerns for the recovery and management of the patient.
Sir Liam also called for nursing organisations to become involved in a clinical board for surgical safety, which will be created by the National Patient Safety Agency.