About Course Accreditation

Course Accreditation

ACORN is committed to supporting perioperative nurses and others affiliated with perioperative nursing (affiliates) to develop their knowledge and skills. ACORN aims to support, facilitate and promote professional development programs to its members and affiliates. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities allow perioperative nurses and affiliates to retain and develop their expertise and knowledge.

Who would be considered an ACORN affiliate?

ACORN affiliates may not necessarily be perioperative nurses and their course(s) may not be designed for perioperative nurses. Instead they may be organisations, individuals, employees or students with a need to understand specific aspects of perioperative nursing or practice. Examples include but are not limited to medical device manufacturers, university students, hospital engineers and some consultants.

What types of courses does ACORN accredit?

ACORN understands that courses can be multi-modal and may also be based on blended learning methods. ACORN accredits a range of courses including those delivered face-to-face, online or by distance some of which may be provided over one or more sessions or over a fixed or flexible period.

What is ACORN course accreditation?

ACORN course accreditation is a process by which perioperative professional development course activities are peer-reviewed by expert members of the profession and validated against specific principles and current ACORN Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia (the ACORN Standards). Through course accreditation, ACORN recognise best practice adult learning within the context and scope of perioperative nursing practice. Perioperative nurses and affiliates undertaking ACORN accredited courses can be confident that they are relevant, professionally delivered and include a formal evaluation.

Why have your course accredited?

ACORN promotes accredited courses to perioperative nurses and affiliates to ensure that quality activities which meet specific principles and ACORN Standards demanded by the profession are recognised. To have a course accredited by ACORN you must be a credible organisation committed to supporting the needs of perioperative nurses and others with a requirement to understand perioperative nursing practice, roles and the perioperative environment. ACORN will work with the applicant to promote the accredited course appropriately and allow use of the ACORN course accreditation logo for marketing of the accredited course.

The aims of ACORN course accreditation are:

  • To guide course providers in the specific principles and Standards required by the perioperative profession
  • To encourage providers to adopt best practice educational principles when developing CPD courses
  • To recognise ACORN members’ commitment to CPD and guide participants in the allocation of appropriate CPD hours for the purpose of meeting their national registration requirements
  • To provide the opportunity for education providers and affiliates to receive feedback from ACORN, ensuring accredited courses accurately reflect the perioperative nursing context and scope of perioperative practice.

What courses can ACORN accredit?

Any course for perioperative nurses or affiliates may be submitted for accreditation.

How much does it cost?

Each course submitted for accreditation will involve a flat, non-refundable, set application fee of $AUD 500 plus GST payable on application. This is the application fee.

A separate, additional content-dependent fee will be determined by ACORN based on the estimated number of hours required to assess the course. This is the content-dependent fee.

ACORN will send a quotation for the content-dependent fee to the applicant before progressing the application to assessment

What does the application process involve?

Each course application must be submitted online and according to the terms and conditions set by ACORN and published here.

Course accreditation applicants must use ACORN's online application form. If an applicant is applying for more than one course a separate application must be completed for each course.

ACORN accepts applications four times a year. The next rounds calling for applications will:

  • Open on the 1st and close on the 30th November 2019
  • Open on the 1st and close on the 15th February 2020
  • Open on the 1st and close on the 15th May 2020 
  • Open on the 1st and close on the 15th August 2020

Applications may be submitted at any time and will be reviewed at the next application round. Applicants should acknowledge the time taken to complete an application process to ensure sufficient time is granted before the proposed date of each course.

Applications will not progress to assessment until ACORN has received the application fee and content-dependent fee.

Applicants can expect a determination of their application within eight to twelve weeks from payment of the application and content-dependent fees. 

ACORN course accreditation is at ACORN’s discretion.

In all cases ACORN is committed to working with applicants to ensure a successful ACORN Course Accreditation outcome.

What happens if my course accreditation application is successful?

If the course application is successful course accreditation will be for 12 months from the date ACORN advises the applicant of the course's successful accreditation outcome.

ACORN will provide written confirmation of the course outcome and also provide an electronic copy of the ACORN Accredited Course logo for use in promoting the accredited course. ACORN’s name and logo are copyrighted and must not to be used without authorisation from ACORN. The ACORN Accredited Course logo can only be used in conjunction with the relevant Accredited Course and only while the course remains accredited. If the course Accreditation is not renewed annually the course will no longer be considered accredited and should not be promoted as such. Any infringement or misuse could result in legal proceedings and the withdrawal of accreditation.

What happens if my course accreditation application is unsuccessful?

If the course application is unsuccessful, ACORN will advise the applicant and provide recommendations for additions/ improvements to the course. Subsequent re-application of an unsuccessful course must be made within eight weeks of the application notification and will require payment of another content-dependent fee identical to that paid for the initial application.

How long is the course accreditation period?

Accreditation will be for 12 months from the date ACORN advises the applicant of the course's successful accreditation outcome.

What happens once a course has been accredited for 12 months?

Submission of an Annual Report is no longer required. Accreditation becomes invalid once the 12-month accreditation period ends and the course will be de-registered unless ACORN receives an application for retention.

How will ACORN advise primary contacts that their course is due to expire?

Each year one month before the course accreditation expiry date ACORN will send a reminder email to the primary course contact or their designate who must then:

  1. Submit an online retention report indicating how the course content has been updated to reflect any changes in the preceding 12 months to:
  • ACORN's Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia
  • other national standards including publications from Standards Australia, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care's National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards and The Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare
  • national/ state legislation, regulation or public policy directives relevant to perioperative nursing
  1. Pay an annual flat, non-refundable, set application fee of $AUD 500 plus GST. This is the retention fee.
  2. Pay a minimal content-dependent fee determined by ACORN based on the estimated number of hours required to re-assess any changes to course content. ACORN will raise this fee with each application for retention of an accredited course. This is the content-dependent retention fee.

If the online retention report is not submitted or payment of the retention fee or the content-dependent retention fee not received by the expiry date, the course will be de-registered and must be resubmitted for accreditation as a new course application before accreditation can be re-assessed.

If major (>50%) content changes are required, or the course title changes, the content-dependent retention fee will be revised upwards to reflect the time needed by ACORN staff and course assessors to re-assess the Course.

What happens if course content or title is changed during a period when it is accredited?

ACORN must be notified if considerable changes are made to an accredited course’s content, delivery, outcomes or objectives during the accreditation period. ACORN will then review changes and advise if the accreditation is still valid.

It is the responsibility of the primary contact's organisation to contact ACORN should the content change considerably during a period when the course is accredited. If primary content details change ACORN must also be notified so that records relating to the course remain current. Every 12 months the primary contact for each accredited course will be required to provide ACORN with details of any changes to course content.

How are CPD hours determined?

ACORN will provide guidance to successful applicants on the relevant CPD hours that participants may be entitled to claim. ACORN is not responsible for logging participants CPD hours at the completion of an accredited course. It is the responsibility of the attendee to keep a log of their CPD hours.

How can I make an enquiry or submit an application?

For any enquiries regarding ACORN course accreditation please submit a form here.

Course accreditation applications can only be made online. Please complete an application at this link.

What quality principles underpin ACORN course accreditation?

Below are a set of principles for ACORN course accreditation. Please provide adequate information to meet these principles.

Quality Principle 1

The course is highly relevant to the needs of perioperative nurses or affiliates to provide high quality and safe nursing care in a perioperative setting.

Courses should be relevant to the needs of perioperative nurses or affiliates and the context of their nursing practice or employment. ACORN encourages that at least one perioperative nurse is consulted in the development of the course. Experts who understand perioperative nursing should be involved in the development of the course.

Quality Principle 2

The course content is evidence based and of high quality.

Information contained in courses must be evidence based; outcomes should reflect current best practice and materials should be appropriately referenced. The title and learning objectives of the course should be appropriately matched to the content delivered.

Quality Principle 3

Course delivery is professional.

The course material is safe, accessible and appropriate. There is sufficient time allocated within the course for reflection. The course is delivered in accordance with adult learning principles.

Quality Principle 4

The course includes a formal evaluation.

Accredited courses must include a formal evaluation of participants. Accredited courses must include three mandatory questions (outlined below) which demonstrate to what degree the learning objectives and learning needs have been met. Recognition of attendance must be offered and if needed participants directed to a grievance form which will be available on ACORN's website by 1 December 2019. 

Mandatory questions for inclusion on the participant's formal course evaluation:

1. Rate to what degree your learning needs have been met: (Not met/Partially met/Entirely met)

2. Rate to what degree this course is relevant to your practice: (Not relevant/Partially relevant/Entirely relevant)

3. Please rate to what degree the learning objectives of the course have been met:

(List the learning objectives for the course with each objective to be rated as Not met/Partially met/Entirely met).