The perioperative nurse surgeon's assistant: issues and challenges associated with this emerging advanced practice nursing role in Australia
Lynn, A & Brownie, S 2015, 'The perioperative nurse surgeon's assistant: issues and challenges associated with this emerging advanced practice nursing role in Australia', Collegian, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 109-115.
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Aims: The aim of this study was to obtain Perioperative Nurse Surgeon's Assistants’ views about their emerging new role in contemporary nursing practice in Australia.
Background: Internationally advanced practice nursing has led to a range of specialist roles aimed at delivering higher quality, efficient nursing care. In 2005 an Australian university developed the Perioperative Nurse Surgeon's Assistant graduate education and training program to provide nurses with an opportunity to gain advanced practice knowledge and extended skills specifically in the perioperative setting.
Design: This study was a qualitative research design that used online surveys and in-depth interviews to explore the issues and challenges associated with the introduction of the (currently non-accredited) Perioperative Nurse Surgeon's Assistant role in Australia.
Methods: Experienced Australia perioperative nurses who had undertaken graduate education and training in this field were recruited for this study. Data were collected between August and October 2011. An inductive thematic analysis was used to interpret the findings.
Results: Eighteen nurses completed the online survey and six were interviewed (n = 24). Nurses cited their commitment to professional development and the delivery of high quality patient care, along with surgeons’ encouragement for them to complete specialist clinical training, as key reasons for undertaking Perioperative Nurse Surgeon's Assistant education and training.
Conclusions: The Perioperative Nurse Surgeon's Assistant role led to greater job satisfaction and autonomy, and assisted nurses to better meet the needs of patients, surgeons and clinical perioperative teams. Without formal recognition of the Perioperative Nurse Surgeon's Assistant role its future in the Australian health care system is under threat.