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Instrument/Circulating Nurse
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This unit of study provides students with opportunities to consolidate and expand their clinical knowledge, skills, and attitudes within the specialty of the instrument and circulating nurse in the context of perioperative nursing. It concentrates on patient care in the perioperative environment. In applying theory to practice to provide optimum patient care, students examine such issues as the design of the operating room, the preparation of patients for surgery, advanced aseptic principles including sterilisation, preparation, care and handling of surgical instruments, managing technology specific to the operating theatre environment, the care and handling of specimens and wound closure. The nurse working in the perioperative environment needs a sound foundation of physiology, disease processes, assessment and management options to form the basis for clinical decision-making and problem-solving. Through the acquisition of theoretical knowledge and skill development the student will be able to meet the ACORN professional standards standards.

Instrument/Circulating Nurse
Unit of study code 283
Availability Graduate Certificate in Perioperative Nursing

GC single unit of study

Pre-requisite N/A
Credit points 6
Hours of study 150
Fee* Tier 1
Prescribed texts Australian College of Perioperative Nurses Ltd (ACORN) (2020). Standards for perioperative nursing in Australia. (16th ed). Author. Adelaide. South Australia

Rothrock, J,. C. (Ed.) (2019). Alexander’s care of the patient in surgery. (16th ed.) Elsevier, St Louis Missouri

Co-ordinated by Sharron Smyth-Demmon MACN
Content Intended learning outcomes for this subject/program

After completing this subject, the learner will be able to:-

Assessment Tasks
Type of assessment

Note the completed assessment item (e.g. Assessment 1: Online discussion)


(% of total marks)

When assessed – academic week

(e.g. Week 8)

Theme 1: OR 1 – minor ops/ procedural room a) revise and discuss the legal and ethical aspects that affect perioperative nursing care including medication handling pertaining to your role as an instrument/circulating nurse Assessment 1: Online discussions x2 10% 2, 6
Theme 2: OR 2 – general surgery b) discuss the fundamentals of infection control and explain how they apply to perioperative nursing practice Assessment 2: Quiz (20 questions) 5% 2
Theme 3: OR 3 – O&G/ laparoscopic surgery c) reflect upon the knowledge and skills required to ensure a safe environment for the patient undergoing a surgical/ invasive procedure Assessment 3: Reflective essay (2,000 words) 35% 5
Theme 4: OR 4 – orthopaedics d) analyse the methods of patient assessment in the intra operative phase and apply these methods to practice Assessment 4: Case analysis (2,500 words) 50% 10
Theme 5: OR 5 – ENT/ head and neck e) plan, implement and evaluate the nursing care of a patient undergoing a surgical/ invasive procedure to meet their physical and psychological needs
Theme 6: OR 6 – emergency theatre –unidentified patient f) examine the evidence base for an aspect of  perioperative nursing within the role of an instrument/ circulating nurse.

Instrument/Circulating Nurse (283) is a Tier 1 unit.

Tiers2021 Member price (10% discount)2021 Non-member price2022 Member price (10% discount)2022 Non-member price
Tier 1$2,070.00$2,300.00$2,133.00$2,370.00
Tier 2$2,362.50$2,625.00$2,434.50$2,705.00
Tier 3$2,776.50$3,085.00$2,862.00$3,180.00
Tier 4$3,321.00$3,690.00$3,420.00$3,800.00

*Fees are subject to change without notice.