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General Surgical and Orthopaedic Nursing

  • : Brisbane City QLD 4000

General Surgical nursing is a fast-paced area of healthcare that requires nurses to be equipped with the latest knowledge. Achieving outcomes such as reduced length of stays, adequate pain management, and patient satisfaction relies on nurses providing evidence-based care across the surgical pathway. This two day seminar will look at:

  • General trends in surgical nursing
  • A review of types of anaesthetics and their risks
  • Surgical pharmacology - an update on common medicines
  • Legal topics such as consent, scope of practice and duty of care
  • Orthopaedic nursing management

Gain up-to-date information and apply it to your practice immediately. Book now!


Need for Program

General nurses, and those working in surgical units, care for people with a broad range of conditions that require surgical intervention, including orthopaedics. Due to the adverse outcomes associated with preventable errors across the surgical pathway, all nurses must ensure their practice is safe and underpinned by evidence so as to guarantee patient safety and satisfaction.

Purpose of Program

This program updates surgical nurses on current best-practice in regard to several fundamental aspects of surgical and orthopaedic nursing care so as to prevent errors and minimise complications for patients undergoing a range of surgical procedures.

Your Learning Outcomes
  • Apply knowledge of common post-operative complications to identify, prevent and manage a patient who is deteriorating
  • Improve patient outcomes by assessing and managing postoperative pain more effectively
  • Enhanced surgical pharmacology knowledge will assist you to administer appropriate medicines to reduce risks such as post-operative infections and VTE
  • Patients undergoing joint replacement surgery will benefit from improved nursing assessment and education
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Factors Shaping Surgical Nursing Today - What You Need to Know

    If you are not at the table you are on the menu…The nature of surgical practice is rapidly changing and it is important that nurses know what these changes will mean for them. This is not only due to technology but also the increasing co-morbidity of patients. This rapid change places much pressure on the need for attention to risk and safety for patients and nurses. The key issues explored in this first session include:

    • Factors and trends that have changed surgical nursing
    • What are high risk surgeries today?
    • Obstacles or opportunities for surgical nurses


    Anaesthetic Risk and Recovery

    The types of anaesthetics and the anaesthetic agents used affect the surgical patient’s level of risk and recovery phase. What implications can this have for nurses caring for patients post-operatively? This interactive session will explore:

    • What are the different types of anaesthetics and anaesthetic agents and when are they used?
    • Are the risks associated with anaesthetics the same across the lifespan?
    • Which factors can have a significant effect on the patient post anaesthetic?
    • What observations are vital in the first 24 hours post-surgery following anaesthesia?

    11:00am - Morning Tea


    Post-operative Nursing Care - Recognising Common Complications Early

    Our ageing population, coupled with modern technology, means that surgical procedures are considered safe and effective for much older people than previously. Nurses working in busy surgical units will testify that they are increasingly required to care for patients with complex co-morbidities who have the potential to rapidly become unwell. Therefore, a huge emphasis is placed on a surgical nurse’s ability to assess changes to the whole person, not just the “surgical site”. How can we recognise early signs that a patient may be deteriorating following surgery? How can we ensure that we are confident in our knowledge and ability to take the necessary action and prevent complications? This session will identify common complications following surgery with a focus on cardiac and respiratory disorders in surgical patients. Topics include:

    • Post-operative confusion and likely causes
    • Atelectasis
    • DVT and Pulmonary embolism
    • Pulmonary edema
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Bleeding
    • Clinical manifestations of the above
    • Investigations e.g. chest x-ray, full blood count and electrolytes that will help determine the problem
    • Appropriate nursing actions

    1:30pm - Lunch and Networking


    Assessing Pain in Surgical Patients

    It is unquestionable that there is a very real expectation of pain following a surgical procedure. The prevalence of acute surgical pain demands that all nurses working in surgical settings understand how to assess pain. Despite this, many patients experience unrelieved pain in the post-operatively period which can lead to preventable complications and impair outcomes. This session goes back to basics and looks at:

    • Pathophysiology of pain - what’s actually happening post-operatively?
    • Breaking down barriers - assessment of pain in patients with cognitive impairment and other communication challenges in the post-operative period
    • Expectations of pain - what amount of pain is reasonably expected and how can I communicate this to patients?
    • Assessment tools and Guidelines recommended by evidence

    3:30pm - Afternoon Tea


    Managing Pain in Surgical Patients

    Evidence suggests that good pain management is intrinsically tied to improved patient outcomes such as reduced de-conditioning, rates of infection and other preventable complications. However, the complex nature of managing pain, particularly in the immediate post-operatively period requires nurses to be well informed. This session will build on the previous session and detail evidence-based nursing management of pain:

    • Interpreting and acting on your assessment findings to ensure optimal pain management
    • Complexities of pain management - tips for getting it right
    • Balancing act - which pharmacological agents are safe for use in an older person and does the type of surgical procedure or anaesthetic effect selection?
    • Non-pharmacological nursing management strategies

    5:00pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Surgical Pharmacology - Update for Nurses

    Medication management plays a crucial role in meeting patient outcomes along the surgical pathway. From a pre-operative medication risk assessment, to intra-operative medications and medication management post-operative, it is imperative that all nurses have an understating of surgical pharmacology. This session will apply medication management principles in the surgical setting, to:

    • Improve patient care in pre-admission
    • Reduce peri-operative risk for patients with co-morbidities e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease
    • Prevent infection using antibacterial prophylaxis
    • Assess venous thromboembolism risk and align appropriate prophylaxis
    • Risk assess and manage post-operative pain and nausea/vomiting

    10:30am - Morning Tea


    Fragile Bones - Minimal Trauma Fractures

    A minimal trauma fracture is a fracture that is usually linked to osteoporosis. There may be no obvious cause of the fracture but they can severely impact mobility, pain and activities of daily living, particularly in an older person. This session looks at this under-rated area of concern that has a profound impact on an individual’s quality of life if it is not addressed. Includes:

    • Why does osteoporosis lead to fractures?
    • Minor bumps causing major problems - how common?
    • Why are minimal trauma fractures often “invisible”?
    • Where are the “hot spots”?
    • What does the evidence suggest are the most effective methods of preventing minimal trauma fractures in older people?
    • Stopping the fracture cascade - preventing future fractures


    Orthopaedic Assessment - Nursing Update

    Orthopaedic assessment is a specialised skill that is applicable in many areas of nursing. Orthopaedic conditions and procedures have a major impact on the patient's biomedical, functional and psychosocial health status. This session includes a review of the following:

    • The prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal disorders in Australia
    • The core principles of an orthopaedic assessment that are applicable to all patients within general clinical areas
    • Recognising orthopaedic emergencies and complications including compartment syndrome and fat embolism

    12:45pm - Lunch and Networking


    Surgical Interventions for the Orthopaedic Patient

    Of the half a million hospitalisations relating to musculoskeletal and connective tissue disease in 2014-15, 65% involved surgery (AIHW, 2015). It is therefore likely that most nurses, not just those who work specifically in this area will encounter patients who require or have previously had joint replacement surgery. As such, this session will look at the indications for common joint replacement surgeries and the fundamentals of post-operative nursing care. Includes:

    • Statistics on joint replacements in Australia - why are they rising?
    • When are the following joint replacement surgeries indicated, an overview of each and evidence on how long are each expected to last:
      • hip
      • knee
      • shoulder
    • What are the causes of joint replacement revisions?
    • Post-operative nursing care for joint replacement surgeries
    • A look at traction (non adhesive skin traction and skeletal traction) and spinal fracture management (e.g halo brace and spinal beds)

    2:45pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    VTE Risk Assessment and Reduction - An Orthopaedic Perspective

    All surgical procedures represent a high risk of VTE. Orthopaedic patients are among the most vulnerable due to a range of factors including functional restrictions and prothrombotic processes related to injury. The risk of VTE for orthopaedic patients begins at injury and extends well beyond hospitalisation. The surgeon must balance effective VTE prophylaxis with bleeding risk in this high risk patient group. This final session of day one will discuss:

    • Risk identification and risk reduction strategies from pre-admission to discharge for patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery
    • Recommendations for extended mechanical and chemical prophylaxis in orthopaedic patients
    • The challenges in providing effective VTE prophylaxis in elective orthopaedic surgery and complex trauma

    4:00pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Fiona Newman

    Fiona Newman

    Fiona Newman is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Nursing, Certificate in Anaesthetic Nursing, and Certificate of Training and Assessment. Fiona’s current position is perioperative nurse educator at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, specifically coordinating perioperative introductory programs and advanced courses for perioperative nurses in metropolitan, regional, and rural Hospitals across South- East Queensland. Fiona has 21 years’ clinical background predominately in anaesthetic nursing. She also has clinical experience in recovery room nursing and operating theatre nursing. Fiona’s interests include nursing education, anaesthetic nursing, perioperative trauma, and disaster management. Fiona currently holds an adjunct associate appointment with Griffith University QLD. Fiona completed research in teaching innovative procedural skills, medication labelling, and disaster preparedness. Fiona has recently completed a statewide project on rural perioperative nurse education. Currently, the QLD coordinator for the Definitive Perioperative Nurse Trauma Course, an international faculty member for the Definitive Surgical Trauma Course, and the current college president for The Australian College of Perianaesthesia Nurses ‘ACPAN’, Fiona is also studying to complete her Masters of Anaesthetic & Recovery Nursing through UTAS with the view to complete her PhD focusing on nurse education and training. Fiona has recently achieved fellowship status with ACPAN in 2016.

    Sue de Muelenaere

    Sue de Muelenaere

    Sue de Muelenaere is a Registered Nurse with 15 years’ experience as a nurse educator. Sue completed a five-year bachelor of nursing degree in South Africa, which included training in psychiatric and community nursing and midwifery. Since then, Sue has worked extensively in the intensive care environment, during which she has presented various courses, including an honour’s degree, a diploma in intensive care, and various short cardiac and ECG courses. Sue also holds an honour’s degree in advanced nursing science (intensive care nursing) and diplomas in nursing education and nursing administration. She was the education manager in a specialised heart hospital where she was responsible for the education of all hospital staff, including non-nursing staff members. Sue is passionate about teaching. She maintains a special interest in all aspects of nursing the critically ill patient.

    Dale Long

    Dale Long

    Dale Long is a Registered Nurse who has worked in various cancer care, palliative care, and pain management roles in inpatient and domiciliary settings for the past 25 years, in both Victoria and Queensland. She is an experienced presenter with a strong commitment to educating nurses to improve the quality of pain management delivered to patients. Dale is a member of the Australian Pain Society.

    Treasure McGuire

    Treasure McGuire

    Dr Treasure McGuire is a medicines information pharmacist, pharmacologist, educator, and researcher. As assistant director of Pharmacy, Mater Health Services, she manages their academic practice unit. She is also a senior conjoint lecturer in the School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland and associate professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine, Bond University, where she lectures on complementary medicines, reproductive health, medication safety, and communicable diseases. In recognition of her services to medicines information, she received the Lilly International Fellowship in Hospital Pharmacy and the Bowl of Hygeia of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

    Peta Trenoweth

    Peta Trenoweth

    Peta Trenoweth is the Acting Clinical Nurse Consultant of the 52 bed Orthopaedic Unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing from the Queensland University of Technology, Peta has worked clinically in the areas of orthopaedic and trauma nursing for 13 years, with the exception of a two-year hiatus to be a ski bum in Colorado. During her time at the PA Hospital, Peta has worked in many capacities including the Neck of Femur Liaison Nurse, Orthopaedic Clinical Facilitator and Trauma Case Manager. Peta is dedicated to improving the care of the orthopaedic patient cohort and has a particular interest in complex trauma and spinal injury management. Outside of work, Peta is mother to a 6 year old son and two badly behaved Labradors. Her interests include travel and cooking and her holidays still usually revolve around skiing.

    Kate Bell

    Kate Bell

    Kate has worked in a major tertiary hospital in Queensland since 2007. Her work has centred on general orthopaedic nursing including trauma, aged care and making the link between low trauma fracture and osteoporosis. Kate's qualifications include a Masters of Nurse Practitioner Studies (special interest in Osteoporosis) and Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Ageing and Dementia Studies). Kate is passionate about sharing information and improving the identification and treatment of osteoporosis in ageing adults.

    General Surgical and Orthopaedic Nursing
    Speciality Classification
    Interest Areas
    -- GENERAL --
    Provider Type
    11 hours
    Start Date
    End Date
    11 hours
    Brisbane City QLD 4000
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