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Perianaesthesia Nursing: Introductory Skills Update

  • : Melbourne VIC 3000



Perioperative nursing is a demanding and unique area of health care that requires specific and up-to-date skills. The ability of nurses to work safely in this fast-paced speciality setting is reliant on a sound knowledge base that can adapt to any situation, particularly emergencies. Attend this seminar to:

  • Better understand the role of the perioperative nurse across a range of settings
  • Add to your existing knowledge of infection prevention, aseptic technique and patient positioning
  • Improve your ability to manage a difficult airway
  • Update your knowledge of modern anaesthetic agents, including gases and the anaesthetic machine
  • Gain confidence in managing surgical complications such as anaphylaxis, massive blood loss and malignant hyperthermia

Gain knowledge and apply it to your practice immediately. Book now!


Need for Program

Nurses work under ever-increasing pressure to enhance knowledge and skills in all fast-paced healthcare environments, including in perianaesthesia nursing. A two-day comprehensive seminar that enables nurses working in this area to feel, confident that their knowledge and skills are up-to-date is essential for good patient outcomes.

Purpose of Program

This seminar provides an opportunity for nurses to update their knowledge of the basic and fundamental skills required to work effectively in this environment of care and immediately translate this knowledge to improve patient outcomes. This program is compliant with ANZCA Standard PS08 Assistant to the Anaesthetist (2016) 7.2, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 8.

Your Learning Outcomes

  • Gain insight into how perianaesthesia nursing is changing, including the growth of sub-specialities and the implications this has on current models of care
  • Implement current best practice relating to: anaesthetics/intra-operative monitoring; infection control/aseptic technique; the management of emergencies in your practice and improving patient safety
  • Update knowledge of post-anaesthesia care, including post-operative nausea and vomiting, pain management and airway management to improve patient outcomes
  • Relate practice to current Australian College of Operating Room Nurses [ACORN] & Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists [ANZCA] Standards including standards, policies, procedures and guidelines from State health services
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Defining The Perianaesthesia Nurse - A Rapidly Evolving Profession

    Perianaesthesia nursing has evolved into a highly specialised area that has encompassed many changes in its environment of care. This follows a global trend that reflects a continual expansion in nurses' scope of practice. This introductory session looks at the changes that are occurring in the perianaesthesia nursing landscape in relation to the current ACORN role descriptions. It will consider what this means for nurses who are working in larger complex facilities as well those who are employed in smaller settings. This includes the introduction of advanced practice roles. By understanding these new positions you will be able to gain insight into the already identified complexities of care. The following roles will be considered:

    • Anaesthetic Nurse and Nurse Sedationist
    • Instrument/ Circulating Nurse and Nurse Endoscopist
    • Perioperative Surgical Nurse Assistant
    • PACU Nurse
    • Pain Management Nurse Practitioner


    Update on Infection Prevention and Aseptic Technique

    The principles of infection control and aseptic technique have been taught to us since the early stages of our nursing career and are, without doubt, a critical aspect of all that we do. Within the perianaesthesia environment, however, there are specific conditions we must abide by in order to ensure infection prevention is scrupulously maintained. There will be an exploration of the ACORN Standard Statements for Infection Prevention and Aseptic Technique focusing on the specific requirements in the operating theatre, such as correct theatre attire and management of traffic flow. Includes:

    • Modern sterilisation techniques
    • Patient handling
    • Hand hygiene moments

    10:30am - Morning Tea


    Operating Theatre Considerations - Positioning and Equipment

    During any surgical procedure, there are essential rules that must be followed to allay risk and prevent surgical mishaps. In this session you will consider other critical aspects of maintaining a safe environment of care. This includes:

    • Use of equipment - especially during specific procedures
    • Patient positioning and the avoidance of pressure injuries
    • Special considerations for obese patients

    This will be a highly interactive session where you can discuss different surgical/patient examples that relate to your environment of care.

    12:30pm - Lunch and Networking


    Anaesthesia - Imperatives of Nursing Care

    The impact of anaesthesia and ongoing monitoring of a patient who is undergoing a procedure is crucial. Positive patient outcomes rely absolutely on correct management of this aspect of care. There are many different types of anaesthetics, and also special surgical considerations that need to be respected prior to administration of invasive medical procedures. This session includes an afternoon tea break and will bring you up to date on the use of modern anaesthetics, including:

    • A review of the anaesthetic machine - the vital tool in maintaining a patient's physiological status throughout a procedure. Includes:
      • What are the commonly used anaesthetic medications including induction agents?
      • How are anaesthetic medications selected?
      • What is the role of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia “cocktails” and when are they used?
      • Why do anaesthetic medications have such an impact on airway management?
      • How to assess airways, including types of airways and specific management techniques
      • Why & when would regional anaesthesia be used?

    4:45pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Recovering from an Anaesthetic

    The Post Anaesthetic Care Unit is a high dependency unit, caring for patients who have been impacted by surgical manipulation and the use of anaesthetic agents (it used to be called 'Recovery Room'). Typically it is an area adjacent to the operating room where patients who have had surgery are taken for intensive nursing observation and care while recovering from the anaesthetic. There are many high-alert situations that can occur at this time; therefore the skills, clinical reasoning abilities and actions of nurses in this area are of paramount importance. This session looks at the PACU unit and discusses:

    • Best-practice airway management - including airway distress
    • Assessment of level of consciousness including correct documentation
    • Assessment for haemodynamic instability
    • Monitoring and managing the physiological effects of the surgical intervention e.g. postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV)
    • Use of analgesia

    10:30am - Morning Tea


    The Theatre of Risk - Prevention and Preparation for Complications

    Complications arising from anaesthesia or surgical intervention can lead to devastating consequences for a patient and may even be fatal. This session will focus on the incidence of complications under anaesthesia & within the PACU. It also includes preparation for emergencies & the environmental/location considerations during an emergency (i.e. the management within an operating theatre versus PACU).

    12:30pm - Lunch and Networking


    The Theatre of Risk - Management of Complications

    This afternoon session will look at a range of case scenarios where harm has occurred due to surgical intervention. It will include what to do if an untoward event occurs during your line of duty.

    • Case Scenario - Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening reaction to an antigen and may be seen after exposure to anaesthetic agents or medicines used intraoperatively. This case scenario will illustrate an example of anaphylaxis and how it manifests in the operating room. Includes:
      • Common culprits: neuromuscular blocking agents, antibiotics, induction medicines, latex
      • Type of reactions that occur
      • Early signs of anaphylaxis - what you must know
      • Immediate actions
      • Documentation
      • Follow up action (identifying the cause of the anaphylaxis) for future reference
    • Case Scenario - Massive Blood Loss: Haemorrhage is the main cause of cardiac arrest in the operating room. It can be dramatic and cause a state of emergency in the theatre. This case scenario will look at the causes of blood loss including transfusion practice and anaesthetic management. It will then review the types of surgery that are more likely to create this risk. Finally, it will take you through step-by-step the actions that are necessary to ensure correct processes are maintained during such a crisis and that, where possible, life is saved. Includes:
      • Most likely causes of massive blood loss
      • Identifying a critical state of emergency
      • Tools to maintain haemostasis
      • Coordinating the team - notification of blood transfusion staff, intensive care unit etc.
      • Nursing actions and documentation
      • Notifying the family
    • Case Scenario - Malignant Hyperthermia: Malignant hyperthermia is a pharmacogenetic disorder that relates to the metabolism of muscles. It is usually caused by the administration of potent inhaled anaesthetic agents and/or succinylcholine. It is believed to be a genetic disorder. This case scenario will illustrate an example of malignant hyperthermia and how it manifests in the operating room.
      • Causes of malignant hyperthermia and questions to ask in pre-operative assessment (e.g. family history)
      • The effect of rhabdomyolysis and role of dantrolene
      • Nursing actions and documentation including the malignant hyperthermia trolley
      • Notifying the family

    3:30pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Case Scenario - Difficult Airway Management

    Maintaining a clear airway is obviously of paramount importance. In this case scenario you will be guided through the assessment of the airway and the actions to take when problems arise. It will focus on the current ANZCA recommendations & includes:

    • Assessment of the airway and identification of the cause of problems
    • Immediate actions
    • Tracheal tubes and airway latency
    • Written criteria for discharge of patients from PACU to ward


    Summary of Crisis Management in Perianaesthesia Nursing

    This final session will draw together the common threads of crisis management involved in perianaesthesia nursing. Finally, it will review of ACORN Standards as well as standards, policies, procedures and guidelines from State health services.

    5:00pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Suzanne Querruel

    Suzanne Querruel


    Suzi Querruel has been working in the perioperative field for the past decade. Her passion lies in perianaesthesia nursing and has been seeking to advance the field over the past few years. She is a tutor/lecturer for Western Sydney University [WSU] in the Bachelor of Nursing program and WSU The College in their Academic Pathways Programs. She is the unit coordinator at WSU The College for the subjects Health Communication and Skills in Health Science.

    She was previously Anaesthetic Coordinator at Westmead Private Hospital and also has held Sessional Nurse Educator positions at the Australian College of Nursing, Wesley Health Management and the University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney University and The University of Tasmania. She has been a Nurse Educator for Ausmed Education for the past three years and has collaborated program development for the perianaesthesia, perioperative, day surgery and surgical nursing seminars. She has held the position of National Vice President and NSW/ACT President of the Australian Society of Post Anaesthesia & Anaesthesia Nurses [ASPAAN] for two years and has recently seen the transition of ASPAAN to the Australian College of PeriAnaesthesia Nurses [ACPAN].

    Suzi holds a Bachelor of Nursing, Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Anaesthetics & PACU), Masters of Nursing (Education), Certificate IV in Workplace Training & Assessment and a Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP] Practitioner Certificate.

Perianaesthesia Nursing: Introductory Skills Update
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11 hours
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11 hours
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Melbourne VIC 3000
Oaks On Collins , 480 Collins St
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