University of Technology Sydney

92479 Introduction to Specialty Practice: Perioperative Nursing

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): (90 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10122 Bachelor of Nursing OR 90 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10123 Bachelor of Nursing Bachelor of Arts International Studies OR 90 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10351 Bachelor of Nursing Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation) AND (92438 Medical Surgical Nursing OR 92450 Medical Surgical Nursing (Graduate Entry) OR 92024 Medical Surgical Nursing (Graduate Entry) OR 92322 Medical Surgical Nursing OR 92454 Medical Surgical Nursing OR 93211 Clinical Practice 2B)


This clinical elective subject is designed to introduce and further students' knowledge and understanding of the nursing management of adults and/or children undergoing surgery. This subject facilitates integration between theory and practice in this specialty area of nursing and closely aligns with the Australian College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN) standards. It enables students to work within a highly structured and developed area of complex health management as members of a functioning interdisciplinary perioperative team. It also provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate technical competence at a beginning level in the application of safe, effective and efficient use of technology and resources in perioperative nursing practice.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Analyse the roles and responsibilities of the RN in the operating theatre department and their collaboration with the inter-professional health care team (RN Standards of Practice 1, 2).
B. Explore factors that influence the nursing assessment and management of specific patient populations (RN Standards of Practice 4, 5, 6).
C. Develop knowledge and skills to assist with providing a safe environment for perioperative patients and health care teams (RN Standards of Practice 1, 2, 5, 6, 7).
D. Develop knowledge and skills to assist with performing a perioperative nursing assessment and planning patient care with the patient and members of the interprofessional health care team (RN Standards of Practice 1, 2, 3, 5, 6).
E. Demonstrate appropriate RN Standards of Practice and ACORN clinical competencies including the ability to communicate in English with patients and staff in the clinical environment (RN Standards of Practice 1-7).
F. Develop and demonstrate perioperative nursing knowledge through evaluating relevant professional and scholarly evidence and using such evidence to plan, explain and justify the management of the perioperative patient (RN Standards of Practice 3, 5, 6, 7).
G. Discuss the legal obligations and ethical considerations of the nurse in the perioperative environment (RN Standards of Practice 1,7).

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • The ability to plan and provide care that is respectful of each individuals’ needs, values and life experiences (1.0)
  • The embodiment of a professional disposition committed to ethical, equitable and legal nursing practice (2.0)
  • The ability to communicate and collaborate safely, compassionately and respectfully. (3.0)
  • The ability to provide patient care premised on the best available evidence (4.0)
  • Professional cultural competence that contributes to the health and well-being of Indigenous Australians, inclusive of their physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing (5.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject provides a blend of teaching and learning opportunities through face-to-face laboratories, self-directed and online learning. This subject also provides students with flexibility in assessment choices to support individual learning needs and make connections between prior knowledge and experiences and new information.

Lectures and online learning materials
Subject lectures are designed to enage students and enable them to clarify complex descriptions and terminology. This subject benefits from access to online resources. Opportunities will be given during laboratory sessions for any questions or clarification.

Simulated activites
Simulation provides an environment for students to practice new skills learnt through theory and knowledge development. Scenarios from relevant situations are used to depict real life experiences in nursing practice. Students will have the opportunity to interact, observe and provide feedback within the facilitated debriefing, and reflect on their own skills, values and experiences.

Structured decision making activities
Working in small teams students engage in real-time, shared decision-making activities, following a weekly guided case study. This assists students to engage with policies and utilise knowledge to formulate responses to situations, under time pressure, as would be expected within a clinical practice setting. Together, students learn to quickly achieve consensus for decisions. Feedback for decision outcomes is also provided in real-time allowing students to assess and reflect on their decision-making choices.

Communication skills development
Teaching and learning strategies incorporate the development of professional communication skills for all students. This encompasses professional and therapeutic communication required for nursing practice.

Content (topics)

Care of the patient during the perioperative period: Students explore the care of the patient in the perioperative environment. This includes caring for a patient in the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative periods. Attention is paid to developing an understanding of the specific needs of surgical patients during each perioperative phase, with particular emphasis on vulnerable patient groups, namely: The paediatric patient; the older person; the bariatric patient.

Nursing roles and responsibilities in the perioperative environment: Students will gain an understanding of the perioperative nursing roles and responsibilities including: anaesthetic nursing role, circulating nursing role, instrument nursing role and postanaesthesia recovery unit (PARU) nursing role. Students will also be given the opportunity to function in one or more of these roles during their clinical placement.

Legal issues in the perioperative environment: Legal issues specific to this clinical specialty area are examined including documentation requirements, patient consent and the surgical count.

Patient safety in the perioperative environment: The inherently risky perioperative environment will be examined. In this examination focus will be placed on patient and staff safety as well as risk management strategies related to the type of work and care delivered within it.

Teamwork in the perioperative environment: Emphasis is placed on working within the perioperative environment and more specifically working within interdisciplinary teams


Assessment task 1: Online Revision Quizzes


The purpose of the online quizzes is to assess students knowledge and understanding of weekly subject content and ability to interpret data and make clinical decisions based on information explored in pre-reading, lecture and laboratory resources and content.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, D, E and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

2 quizzes with (30) questions in each quiz, 45 minute time restriction.

Assessment task 2: External Online Modules


Students will engage with two online modules both of which will be assessed by a post module quiz. Module 1: BloodSafe - Acute Care and Surgery Perioperative, will assess students knowledge of blood management strategies for use pre, intra and postoperatively, in order to optimise patient health and reduce the likelihood of needing a transfusion. Module 2: Safety and Basic Principles – Journey of a Surgical Instrument will assess students kowledge of appropriate handling of surgical instruments in the operating room and thier understanding of the basic principles of decontamination, packaging and sterilisation used to prepare instrument sets for patient procedures.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, F and G

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%

Assessment task 3: Objective Structured Clinical Examination


This practical clinical examination will assess students’ clinical judgement and skills related to the preparation, assessment and management of a patient within the perioperative environment.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, F and G

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%

1 hour

Assessment task 4: Clinical Placement


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, F and G

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Individual

80 hours

Required texts

1. Hamlin, L., Davis, M., Richardson-Tench, M. & Sutherland-Fraser, S. 2021 'Perioperative Nursing: An Introduction', 3rd edn, Chatswood, Elsevier Australia.

2. Australian College of Perioperative Nurses Ltd, 2018 'Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia', 15th edn, South Australia, ACORN.

Students will have access to an e-copy of the ACORN standards via the UTS library. Information on how to access the standards will be made available in Canvas.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or