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Perioperative Nursing: Introductory Skills Update

  • : Melbourne VIC 3001


Includes: Airway Management; Aseptic Technique; Anaesthetic Agents; PACU; Anaphylaxis, Massive Blood Loss, Malignant Hyperthermia and much, much more...



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 the perioperative nursing setting. 

A two-day comprehensive seminar that updates and builds on existing knowledge and skills will assist the learner to identify and close gaps relating to their specific area of practice. 

This seminar is relevant to nurses who either regularly or only occasionally require knowledge and skills to safely care for patients in the perioperative environment. It is also a comprehensive introduction to perioperative nursing for any nurse considering working in this setting.

Purpose of Program

This seminar provides an opportunity for perioperative 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.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this program it is expected that the participants will be able to:

  • Gain insight into how perioperative 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] Standards including standards, policies, procedures and guidelines from State health services
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Defining The Perioperative Nurse - A Rapidly Evolving Profession

    Perioperative 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 perioperative 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
    • PACU Nurse
    • Pain Management Nurse Practitioner
    • Perioperative Surgical Nurse Assistant

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    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 perioperative 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

    12:15pm - Lunch Break 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. These in turn impact on monitoring requirements delivered perioperatively. This session 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 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.

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Anaesthesia - Preventing Complications

    This final session of Day One will continue to look at anaesthesia and how this relates to nursing care. It will conclude with a troubleshooting session on complications that can occur as a result of anaesthetics.

    4:15pm - Close of Day One of Program

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Intraoperative Considerations - Positioning and Equipment

    During any surgical procedure, there are essential rules that must be followed to allay risk and prevent surgical mishaps. As mentioned yesterday, scrupulously maintaining an aseptic environment is an example of this. 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.

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    The Post Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU)

    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

    12:30pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    The Theatre of Risk - Prevention and Management of Complications

    Complications arising from anaesthesia or surgical intervention can lead to devastating consequences for a patient and may even be fatal. 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.
      • 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

    3:00pm - 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. 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 Perioperative Care

    This final session will draw together the common threads of crisis management involved in the perioperative environment of care. Final review of ACORN Standards as well as standards, policies, procedures and guidelines from State health services.

    4:15pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Suzanne Querruel

    Suzanne Querruel

    Suzanne is currently working as a sessional tutor/lecturer for the University of Western Sydney, Parramatta Campus, and is unit coordinator for Health Communication at UWS College, Ninmba. Previously she was anaesthetic coordinator at Westmead Private Hospital but relinquished the post to pursue an education role. She is also the NSW President of ASPAAN and holds a Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Anaes and PACU), a Master's of Nursing (Education) and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment.

Perioperative Nursing: Introductory Skills Update
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
12 hours
Start Date
End Date
12 hours
Price Details
Melbourne VIC 3001
Hotel IBIS - Therry Street, 15-21 Therry Street
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