A Theatre Nurse, otherwise known as a Perioperative Nurse, provides health care to patients before, during and after surgical operations. Theatre Nurses work alongside Doctors, Surgeons and Registered Nurses to provide the best possible standard of health care in medical settings. A Theatre Nurse provides essential care to patients undergoing surgery in the hospital. Theatre Nurses typically work in operating theatres, to provide support during surgery, but they may also care for patients pre or post surgery. Theatre Nurses are resonsible for sterilising surgical equipment and pass surgical instruments to the surgeon throughout the procedure.
The role of a Theatre Nurse is a varied position that includes technical tasks and patient care and they key duties and responsibilities include:
- Provide reassurance and support to patients and family members
- Address questions and concerns from the patient and family
- Outline the risks and benefits involved
- Undertake medical assessments before and after operations
- Collect patient's medical data and medical history
- Prepare and ensure operating theatres and equipment is sterile
- Provide clinical support to surgeons and anaesthetists
- Monitor patients' health and provide reports to surgeons
- Apply bandages, dressings or stitches to patients
- Assist with emergency medical procedures, such as CPR
There are four primary areas of perioperative care that Theatre Nurses specialise in. These include:
Perioperative Nurses: They often specialise in assisting patients before an operation takes place. They may ensure the patient understands the purpose of the procedure and any associated risks. In the operating room, the Perioperative Nurse may serve as a Scrub Nurse, selecting and passing instruments and supplies used for the operation, or as a circulating nurse managing the overall nursing care in the operating room and helping to maintain a safe, comfortable environment.
Anaesthetic Nurses: These specialists might work alongside an anaesthetist to administer pre-surgery drugs and anaesthetics to patients.
Surgical Nurses: These Nurses provide assist surgeons during an operation. They might prepare surgical instruments or work as a Scrub Nurse.
Post-Operative Nurses: This specialisation helps Theatre Nurses focus on providing patients with care after they've undergone surgery.
To become a Perioperative Nurse, you must first have the relevant qualifications as a Registered Nurse (RNs), and have extensive industry experience. Registered Nurses work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside other skilled professionals including doctors, surgeons, specialists, therapists, specialty nurses, social workers and many others to provide ongoing patient care to people who are sick, disabled, injured or recovering from surgery. Registered nurses deliver primary health care predominantly in hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities, aged care facilities, Government or military institutions, community or school settings, in the home or in outpatient facilities.
Read about all other Specialty Nursing Roles here
To become a Registered Nurse in Australia you need to complete a 3-year Bachelor of Nursing, which is available at most Australian universities. Alternatively, for students with previous tertiary qualifications, complete a two-year Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry) program. Further study is essential if you are looking to take the next step in your career and advance in specialist nursing roles.
Nurses who specialise in a particular area of medicine may need to complete further studies or specialist training and obtain relevant experience.
All Nurses must apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). Registration must be renewed annually.
- AHPRA Registration
- Nursing Practice
- Quality Improvement
- Critical Care
- Conflict Resolution
- Patient Care
- Developing and implementing care policies
Registered Nurses can undertake further studies to obtain qualifications and progress their career into more senior positions such as;
Registered Nurses can specialise in other roles, undertaking further studies to obtain qualifications and specialise in a particular area of nursing. Specialised Nursing Roles include:
- Aged Care Nurse
- Alcohol & Other Drug Nurse
- Anaesthetic Nurse
- Cardiac Nurse
- Child and Family Health Nurse
- Community Health Nurse
- Critical Care & Emergency Nurse
- Flight Nurse
- Infection Control Nurse
- Intensive Care Specialist Nurse
- Mental Health Nurse
- Oncology Nurse
- Paediatric Nurse
- Palliative Care Nurse
- Perioperative Nurse
- Post Operative Nurse
- Rehabilitation Nurse
- Surgical Nurse
- Theatre Nurse