Purpose and Mission
Perioperative nurses specialize in taking care of patients prior, during and after surgery or other medical interventions. The perioperative nursing specialty includes the job titles of pre-operative patient assessment and education nurse, circulating nurse, theatre nurse, anaesthetic nurse, instrument nurse, perioperative nurse surgical assistant, post-anaesthetic recovery nurse or just recovery nurse.
Perioperative nurses work in hospitals or clinics, and typically report to a nursing supervisor. Depending on their role, some perioperative nurses may even report to department heads.
Although most perioperative nurse roles do not involve direct supervisory responsibility over others, there are some exceptions, especially relating to training of new perioperative nurses. Some perioperative nurses eventually move up into management or administrative roles.
Perioperative nurses are fully-qualified registered nurses. All RNs must have a current Nursing Registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Agency).
In most cases, at least some previous experience as a registered nurse is required to become a perioperative or theatre nurse. Depending on the facility, some additional formal training may be required to qualify to work as a perioperative nurse.
Responsibilities of a Perioperative Nurse
The responsibilities of a perioperative nurse vary based on the job specialty, but typically include at least the following: