The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) provides postgraduate education and training to nurses across the country. An integral part of this team is Emma Woodhouse MACN, ACN’s Manager of Education Development and former co-convenor of ACN’s Graduate Certificate in Perioperative Nursing. She also has strong connections to perioperative nursing as it was the first area she worked in after gaining her nursing qualifications!
In a special Q & A, Emma shares her background in the specialty, provides an outline of the Graduate Certificate and the benefit postgraduate education has had on her nursing career.
What is your background in Perioperative Nursing?
I went straight into perioperative nursing when I finished my training back in 1990 in the UK. I have worked predominately as an instrument and circulating nurse in all specialties, then became a sister (Nurse Unit Manager equivalent in Australia) specialising in colorectal and laparoscopic surgery. I continued working in theatre for 20 years, eventually moving to Australia in 2006. When I first came to the Australian College of Nursing in 2010, I coordinated the Graduate Certificate in Perioperative Nursing. I was then involved in its redevelopment in 2012 when TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) first accredited us.
How did postgraduate qualifications in Perioperative Nursing benefit your career?
Postgraduate studies allowed me to travel, teach and lead teams to deliver quality care. It gave me the skills to think critically about nursing practice and to challenge norms. It also gave me confidence as I could apply what I was learning to practice, reinforce best practice, and influence others.
What can students expect to learn from the Graduate Certificate in Perioperative Nursing?
Students will learn about perioperative care’s legal and ethical complexities, especially the importance of person-centred care and advocacy. They will be challenged to think critically about their practice and learn essential leadership skills. They will also have the opportunity to choose their career pathway. For example, they may want to specialise in post-operative pain management or study each of the specialty electives so that they can work in any perioperative role.
Why do you love being a nurse?
Being a nurse allows you to have a positive influence on health outcomes. You can make such a difference in someone’s life by showing empathy and advocating for them when they are not able to. The main thing I love is seeing other nurses learn and thrive so that I can be happy in the knowledge that I have had a positive influence on future nursing leaders.