NURSING 7145 - Introduction to Perioperative Nursing

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This course provides the clinician with the clinically-focused skills and knowledge to function at a baseline perioperative nurse level within the perioperative environment. The course follows a patient's experience through their perioperative pathway and analyses the common phases along this journey. Topics presented cover the knowledge and skills required during preoperative, intraoperative and post anaesthesia recovery phases of care. There is a strong focus on the skills acquirement within the student's clinical environment. Following this course the clinician will be able to function at a base level within the areas of perioperative nursing.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 7145
    Course Introduction to Perioperative Nursing
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Flexible delivery mode with online classroom contact
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Graduate Diploma in Nursing Science or Master of Nursing Science
    Course Description This course provides the clinician with the clinically-focused skills and knowledge to function at a baseline perioperative nurse level within the perioperative environment. The course follows a patient's experience through their perioperative pathway and analyses the common phases along this journey. Topics presented cover the knowledge and skills required during preoperative, intraoperative and post anaesthesia recovery phases of care. There is a strong focus on the skills acquirement within the student's clinical environment. Following this course the clinician will be able to function at a base level within the areas of perioperative nursing.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mrs Jo Perry

    Course Coordinator: Jo Perry
    Phone: +61 8 8313 2010
    Location: Adelaide Nursing School, University of Adelaide

    School Office
    Phone: +61 8 8313 3595
    Location: Level 4, AHMS Building

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    This course goes over 12 weeks of the semester, with a possible week 13 depending on presentation timing. Lectures are presented online and tutorials are conducted online.

    Topics to be covered include:

    1 ACORN/NHQHS Standards
    2 Perioperative stages of care
    3 Perioperative Roles
    4 Intraoperative patient care
    5 Perioperative pharmacology
    6 Anaesthetic patient care
    7 Recovery patient care
    8 Care of instruments/Endoscopy
    9 Minimally invasive surgery
    10 Haemostasis, sutures and staples
    11 Wound closure (including drains), dressings and wound care
    12 Specimen care

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Define perioperative nursing delivery parameters
    2 Practice collaborative professional dialogue, including discussion of
    current issues in domestic and global paradigms.
    3 Explore applications of National Standards to perioperative nursing
    4 Examine the various roles and responsibilities of perioperative nurses, with specific reference to operating and procedure room contexts
    5 Describe the patient perioperative journey and how perioperative nurses support it
    6 Describe specific practice considerations in surgical interventions including haemostasis, pharmacology and wound care
    7 Devise and construct peer education materials
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    2, 3, 4, 5, 7

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    2, 7

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    2, 3, 4

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.

    2, 3

    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.

    4, 5, 6, 7

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    1, 2, 4, 5, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    The readings for this course are available electronically via MyUni.

    Please note: it is the student's responsibility to organise printing should a hard copy of any materials be preferred.

    Recommended Resources

    Hamlin, L., Richardson-Tench, M. & Davies, M. 2016. Perioperative Nursing – An Introduction, 2nd Ed., Elsevier Australia, Chatswood, NSW

    Australian College of Operating Room Nursing (ACORN), 2022-2023, ACORN standards for perioperative nursing, ACORN, Adelaide.

    Phillips, N & Sedlak, PK 2015, Surgical instrumentation, Delmar Cengage, Clifton Park.

    Rothrock 2022, Alexander’s care of the patient in surgery, 17th edition, Mosby, St. Louis.

    Anaesthetic Practice
    Aitkenhead, AR Smith, G & Rowbotham, DJ 2019, Textbook of anaesthesia, (7th edition) Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.

    Postanaesthesia Recovery Practice
    Schick, L & Windle, PE 2020, Perianesthesia nursing core curriculum: preprocedure, phase I and II PACU nursing, (4th edition), WB Saunders, St. Louis.

    Note: You are not required to buy recommended texts. However, they provide valuable supplementary reading on various aspects of the material covered within this course and you are encouraged to have a look at them.
    Online Learning
    Online Lecture Content
    The lecture content associated with this course is accessible from within the lecture content section of this course available via the MyUni (Canvas) website.

    Please note that the required lecture content for this course will be made available within MyUni. Each week’s sessions are designed to go ‘live’ on the Friday immediately prior to the academic week (i.e. if the week starts on Monday 27 Feb 2023, then that week’s content will be available from Friday 24 Feb 2023).

    Students should view the content as presented and look at the associated handouts and websites to develop their own notes for this course. Students are strongly advised to have completed all preparatory requirements prior to all Online Classroom sessions to gain maximum benefit.

    Online Classroom Tutorials
    The online classroom (Zoom) technology will be used for tutorial discussions on a weekly basis during this semester. These sessions occur on Friday mornings. Information on the Zoom Classroom will be provided in MyUni, including scheduled session dates and times. The login link will also be available in MyUni. Students should familiarise themselves with this technology to become reasonably comfortable with using it prior to the start of the semester.

    MyUni (Canvas)
    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework nursing program have access to the School of Nursing – Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on Canvas. If students would like the opportunity to network with other students, they can use the Communication features in the site. This site will also feature information about the latest news and events at the Adelaide Nursing School.

    Library Resources
    Help for Nursing Students
    The University of Adelaide Library has a website to help nursing students use the library and its resource (

    Remote student library service
    The University of Adelaide Library provides a document delivery and loans service to non-metropolitan students who do not visit a University of Adelaide campus to attend classes (
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered through the following means:

    1. Flexible delivery mode with Online Classroom contact
    2. Lecture content will be self running online presentations linked to relevant electronic resources such as professional documents, websites and e-books.
    3. Online Classroom contact will be to discuss the content for the week and to discuss how students would apply the knowledge into their clinical practice setting.
    4. The final presentation will be offered face to face or online per student preference.
    5. An optional workshop is available during the semester to consolidate professional skillsets with other students from the Postgraduate courses.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    It is expected that students will need to invest about 24 hours per week of study to successfully complete this course. This includes all study activities, online classrooms, readings and assessment. Thus some weeks it will be more and others less. It is recommended that time commitment to the course is carefully planned at the beginning of the semester.
    Learning Activities Summary
    As a discrete specialty, perioperative nurses will develop the skills of examining broad standards of care and being able to apply the core tenets of best practice to the surgical pathway. With each topic, there is an exploration of how evidence based interventions directly contribute to patient outcomes, and the role that perioperative nurses play in that.

    The 12 weeks cover the following content, based upon a  surgical patient pathway:

    1. Perioperative stages of care
    2. ACORN Standards
    3. NHQHS Standards
    4. Perioperative roles (including advanced roles)
    5. Anaesthesia/Recovery patient care
    6. Endoscopy in the perioperative environment
    7. Research Literacy, Professional Practice and Knowledge Translation in the perioperative specialty
    8. Haemostasis in surgery (including sutures and staplers)
    9. Pharmacology in surgery
    10. Specimen care
    11. Wound closure (including surgical drains)
    12. Dressings and wound care

    Specific Course Requirements
    There is an optional workshop, held in the second half of the semester. This workshop is designed to explore scenarios and non-technical skills such as Situational Awareness, working in High Functioning Teams and Communication, with a focus on the surgical patient journey. The workshop is open to other post-graduate health students.

    There is a presentation at the end of semester. Students may elect to come in and present face to face to their peers, or an online option, subject to numbers and availability.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Essay Plan Formative 0%
    Essay Summative 30%
    Learning Portfolio A Summative 25%
    Learning Portfolio B Summative 25%
    Education Guide and Presentation Summative 20%
    Clinical Skills Checklist NGP/NGF
    Assessment Related Requirements
    It is highly recommended that each student view the lecture and review the required reading each week in order to come to the online classroom prepared. Rich discussions and analysis occurs when everyone is familiar with the topic and major issues to be explored.
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment 1: ESSAY PLAN

    Each week of this course covers a different tenet of perioperative practice. There are questions for each week which will
    guide your portfolio submissions. Do not use one of these for your essay. These are designed to address specific practice areas as based on the readings.

    As you reflect on the topics presented over the semester, you may have an issue of your own which arises in your practice,
    and you would like to investigate for your essay. Or you may pick a topic from one of the 12 covered in this course, then isolate an issue of concern for you from within that topic.

    You will be required to write an essay about your issue of concern. At the end of Week 3 it is expected that you have read through the study guide, and have started to formulate your essay topic. You will submit the topic you have chosen, search strategy for literature about your topic, and a plan for your essay.

    The expectations of this essay are that you follow the following process:

    1.   Choose a broad topic (e.g. medication labelling)

    2.   Refer to the relevant NHQHS Standard for broad application, then consider how that standard applies in the perioperative environment.

    3.   What elements of the chosen topic require context specific policy support?

    4.   How can ACORN and NHQHS standards be upheld in your specific workplace?

    5.   How would these policies contribute to optimal patient outcomes?

    You may put your plan in bullet point form, but please note that there is an expectation of format as set out in the University of Adelaide writing guides. You need to include aspects of your planned direction for content and discussion. You will also need to include 5 of the references found in your preliminary search strategy.

    The essay is to be submitted in full later in the semester. You can expect feedback on your essay proposal approximately 1-2
    weeks after submission.

    Assessment 2: ESSAY

    For this course, you will be required to critically analyse a topic relevant to your practice in the perioperative environment. Base your choice on a single aspect from the National Standards (ACORN and NHQHS). For example, you may choose “medication labelling”.  Within that topic, there are several applications of national standards. The NHQHS gives broad recommendations for medication labelling, as well as some prescriptive points which are perioperative context-specific. Reflect on how these standards could be applied in your workplace. Could these recommendations be implemented within the ACORN Standards? Is there already a policy in place for the 2018/2019 National Standards changes? Does the policy need to be updated? What aspects would need to be altered/ Why? Are the policy changes evidence based? What would that look like in your workplace? What are barriers and
    facilitating factors for compliance with the policy changes which will come with the updated National Standards?

    Another way of thinking of a topic may come from the following reflection:

    Think of an occasion in your practice where there was a deviation from the standard. Explain what happened, what circumstances led to this deviation, and how it was addressed. This will entail examining the situation from multiple perspectives (nursing, admin, medical etc), and on several different levels (individual, institution, wider health care policy). You cannot discuss a scenario which has been explored in class, or one from an article. This must be based on your own clinical experience. Review the core elements of the situation with reference to the National Standards.

    The purpose of this essay is for you to analyse a single aspect of perioperative practice and examine how that aspect can be supported by a robust policy in accordance with National Standards.

    This critical analysis should take a discussion form, giving multiple perspectives and be based on research and best practice.

    The expectation is that this essay will be centred around evidence based practice, and involve a critical discussion of the topic, including current references to the literature surrounding it.

    Please refer to the presentation “Essay Writing 101” for further information about essay writing and referencing. Also, there are many comprehensive resources available online from the University of Adelaide Writing Centre.

    Assessment 3 Learning Portfolio A
    Students are expected to submit a portfolio of activities. Students must choose at least ONE activity to complete for EACH of the 12 weeks within the course. You are encouraged to plan your work and complete your activity of choice on a weekly basis. The portfolio is to be submitted in two parts; Part A covering activities from Week 1 through to Week 6, and Part B covering activities from Week 7 to Week 12.

    Assessment 4 Learning Portfolio B
    Students are expected to submit a portfolio of activities. Students must choose at least ONE activity to complete for EACH of the 12 weeks within the course. You are encouraged to plan your work and complete your activity of choice on a weekly basis. The portfolio is to be submitted in two parts; Part A covering activities from Week 1 through to Week 6, and Part B covering activities from Week 7 to Week 12. This will be much more conducive to your learning than grouping activities together.

    Assessment 5 Education Guide and Presentation
    In the perioperative environment we have certain pieces of equipment or instrumentation which we use infrequently, yet when we do, a background instruction and troubleshooting guide to refresh us since the last time we used it would be prudent. For this assignment, you will choose an instrument or piece of equipment which is not used frequently, which many are unfamiliar with, or there are poor instructions for use on. For this instrument/equipment you will then research, by means of inservice from the rep, internet resources from the company or other means, the normal instructions for use and troubleshooting. You will then write a 2 page quick reference instructional guide for the chosen item. On page 1 will be the instructions for use, and on page 2 will be the troubleshooting guide. You will submit your two pages by the end of Week 10 in a Microsoft Word form. You will then be required to present your guide to your classmates in Week 13 of the Online Classroom session. This will be in a PowerPoint format. You will submit your PowerPoint presentation by Week 10.

    Assessment 6 Clinical Skills Checkoff
    The assessment of skills will occur over the two academic semesters (Semester 1 2019 and Semester 2 2019). The skills checkoff for Semester 1 is designed to place students at a minimal competency level for practice, and will serve to highlight any areas of deficiency.

    Please note: The clinical competency evaluation is a requirement for passing this course. Rotations can be negotiated; however, the minimum standard as outlined in the book must be met before a Pass will be granted.
    Assignments must be submitted in electronic format to the appropriate submission portal in MyUni.

    Extension requests should be submitted to the Course Coordinator via email, with accompanying documentation - Application for extension/evidence via medical certificate etc.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Students are reminded that plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious offence and can result in disciplinary procedures. Students are advised to read the policy Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy & Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures policy, available at The following definitions should be noted.

    Referencing: providing a full bibliographic reference to the source of the citation (in a style as determined by the School).
    Quotation: placing an excerpt from an original source into a paper using either quotation marks or indentation, with the source cited, using an approved referencing system in order to give credit to the original author.
    Paraphrasing: repeating a section of text using different words which retain the original meaning.
    Please note: changing just a few words does not constitute paraphrasing.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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