NURSING 7145 - Introduction to Perioperative Nursing

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021

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 Available to M.NurSc and G.DipNurSc students only
    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 Evaluate the logistics of perioperative nursing within a professional global paradigm
    3 Explore applications of National Standards to perioperative nursing
    4 Examine the various roles and responsibilities of perioperative nurses
    5 Discuss core duties of the perioperative nurse, specifically in the operating theatre
    6 Describe the patient perioperative journey and how perioperative nurses support it
    7 Demonstrate a minimal practical competency
    8 Describe specific practice considerations in
    surgical interventions including haemostasis, pharmacology and wound care
    9 Practice collaborative professional dialogue
    10 Debate perioperative practice issues
    11 Devise and construct peer education materials
    12 Evaluate the logistics of perioperative nursing within a global paradigm
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    This course will require the following texts and other resources:

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

    Electronic version (Ebook) available

    The readings for this course are available electronically via MyUni.
    Please note: it is your responsibility to organise printing should you prefer a hard copy of the reader

    Clinical skills portfolio:
    Elsevier Clinical Skills Portfolio: Perioperative
    Link available from CANVAS
    Recommended Resources
    Australian College of Operating Room Nursing (ACORN), 2017-2018, ACORN standards for perioperative nursing, ACORN, Adelaide.

    Phillips, N & Sedlak, PK 2015, Surgical instrumentation, Delmar Cengage, Clifton Park.
    Rothrock 2011, Alexander’s care of the patient in surgery, 14th edition, Mosby, St. Louis.

    Anaesthetic Practice
    Aitkenhead, AR Smith, G & Rowbotham, DJ 2007, Textbook of anaesthesia, (5th edition) Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.

    Postanaesthesia Recovery Practice
    Schick, L & Windle, PE 2010, Perianesthesia nursing core curriculum: preprocedure, phase I and II PACU nursing, (2nd 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 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 10 March 2014, then that week’s content will be available from Friday 7 March 2014).

    Please listen to the content as presented and look at the associated handouts and websites to develop your own notes for this course. You are strongly advised to have completed all preparatory requirements prior to all Virtual 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. Some information on the Zoom Classroom should have been provided to you, you need to familiarise yourself with this technology to become reasonably comfortable with using it prior to the start of the semester.

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

    UNIFIED is your one-stop shop for email, calendar, MyUni and Access Adelaide. It even allows you to search the Library.
    UNIFIED is available to all active students; with a single login you can access your student systems and personal information through a central website. Login with your Student ID ("a1234567") and Password.

    For more information, including easy to follow instructions visit

    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.

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

    It is expected that you will need to invest about 24 hours per week of study to successfully complete this course. This includes all study activities, virtual classrooms, readings and assessment. Thus some weeks it will be more and others less. It is recommended that you plan your time commitment to the course 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 drains)
    12. Dressings and wound care

    Specific Course Requirements
    There is a clinical component of this course, whereby the student in their workplace gets their skills book signed off where they have demonstrated a minimal level of competency in their role. The competencies are desgned to be reflective of a sound understanding of theoretical underpinnings of practice.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The Zoom Classroom tutorials are run as a small group, and contained within each tutorial is a plan which includes discussion and debate of each prescribed topic for the week, and activites designed to promote reflection and critical analysis of relevant issues.
  • 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 Course Coordinator via email only.

    An Assignment Coversheet must be submitted with each assessment. The coversheet should be the first page of your assessment. A word version of the Assignment Coversheet is available to download at The Plagiarism Statement must be signed and dated for your assessment to be marked (please note the details stated on the Assignment Coversheet). More information on avoiding Plagiarism is available at
    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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