Australian patients deserve to receive the safest and highest quality, evidence-based care during their perioperative journey. This is achieved by the dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled Australian perioperative nurses and interdisciplinary team members implementing The New ACORN Standards.
The New ACORN Standards consist of Standards for Safe and Quality Care in the Perioperative Environment (SSQCPE) and Professional Practice Standards for Perioperative Nurses (PPSPN). The New ACORN Standards are further divided into standards for individuals and standards for organisations to provide specific and comprehensive guidance.
- Standards for Safe and Quality Care in the Perioperative Environment (SSQCPE) for Individuals
- Standards for Safe and Quality Care in the Perioperative Environment (SSQCPE) for Organisations
- Professional Practice Standards for Perioperative Nurses (PPSPN) for Individuals
- Professional Practice Standards for Perioperative Nurses (PPSPN) for Organisations
The SSQCPE outline the clinical process which perioperative personnel and health care organisations need to follow.
There are 15 clinical standards which cover:
- Accountable items
- Cleaning and maintaining the perioperative environment
- Electrosurgical safety
- Laser safety
- Latex and chlorhexidine sensitivity
- Patient positioning and manual handling
- Patient skin antisepsis
- Perioperative attire
- Sharps and preventing sharps-related injury
- Specimen identification, collection and handling
- Surgical hand antisepsis, gowning and gloving
- Surgical plume
- Surgical safety.
The PPSPNs outline the professional requirements of enrolled nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners within the perioperative environment so that they can demonstrate compliance against the NMBA standards. The required actions are set out as behavioural descriptors against the various criteria of the NMBA standards. The PPSPNs also outline each nursing role within the perioperative environment and provide guidance on the key activities, knowledge and skills and education required for each role.
There are ten clinical standards which cover:
- Enrolled nurse
- Registered nurse
- Nurse practitioner
- Anaesthesia nurse
- Circulating nurse
- Instrument nurse
- Nurse educator
- Perioperative manager
- Post Anaesthetic Care Unit nurse
- Pre-admission and day stay procedure service nurse
The Standards for Individuals are a quick reference guide for clinical perioperative nurses. Like the standards for organisations, they set out the standardised processes perioperative nurses must follow during their clinical practice to comply with the ACORN standards but in a format that is easy to read and enables the user to quickly scroll to the relevant section within each standard.
The Standards for Organisations are designed to be used by perioperative managers and hospital administration more than perioperative nurses but are still useful for clinical personnel, especially those who undertake auditing within their perioperative units. The standards for organisations:
- Outline the standardised processes for perioperative nurses to follow to ensure they provide the best evidence based safe perioperative care
- Set out the quality and safety processes health service organisation need to have in place to support perioperative staff in the provision of safe perioperative care
- Outline the policy requirements which health service organisations need to meet
- Include a comprehensive evidence section. This does not speak to the evidence used to develop the standards, rather it clearly sets out the evidence that health service organisations need to gather to show compliance against The New ACORN Standards. The information within the evidence section can be used by health service organisations in their quality and safety processes to audit the organisation and perioperative personnel. The results of audits based on the evidence will enable health service organisations to demonstrate compliance with the SSQCPE and PPSPN thereby showing not only that the organisation complies with National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards but that it has exceeded them
- Include a guidance section providing expanded information for hospital administrators to assist their understanding of the needs of the perioperative unit, as some administrators may not be from a perioperative or even a nursing background
The Standards for Organisations can be accessed in the same way as you accessed the 16th edition of the ACORN Standards.
As an online resource, the ACORN Standards are not designed to be read standard by standard, volume by volume as a book. The best way to use the ACORN Standards is to search by the topic you are interested in.
To search, click on the small eyeglass icon and enter keywords (e.g. 'gloves') in the search bar. The eyeglass and search bar are located on the top left-hand side of every page. You may choose to limit your search by case or by page.
You can also browse individual ACORN Standards by opening the sidebar in the upper left, selecting and clicking on the individual standard according to the alphabetical list of standards shown for each volume. However, for best results, we encourage you to search by topic using the search bar. Our optimised search tool combs through the standards in an instant and shows you all the pages related to your area of interest, so you don’t miss anything.
You need to be a financial member of your local state or territory association, a fellow or an affiliate member of ACORN to access the Standards for Individuals as a member benefit.
All financial members of Australian state and territory perioperative nursing associations are full members of ACORN.
The Standards for Individuals are accessed through the Member Jungle app only.
With your preferred device whether Android and iOS, search for 'Member Jungle' and install the app. Open the Member Jungle app, type 'ACORN' to find your club/group. Click 'login' when the ACORN group appears. To access the Standards for Individuals, type in your ACORN username and password, then click 'sign in'.
Please see the video below for instructions on how to access and navigate the standards for individual in the Member Jungle app.
The New ACORN Standards will supersede any previous versions of the ACORN Standards.
The only exceptions are the standards listed below which are yet to be updated and included in The New ACORN Standards.
- Loan sets and trial re-usable medical devices
- Performance review
- Reprocessing re-usable medical devices
- New equipment and instrumentation
- Staffing for safety
- Visitors to the perioperative environment
- Professional development
- Perioperative nurse surgeon’s assistant
- Anaesthetic gas pollution
- Planning and design of the perioperative environment
The standards above, that are still valid from the 16th edition, can be found at https://www.acorn.org.au/acorn-standards-16th-edition and, for ACORN members, fellows and affiliate members, in the Member Jungle app.
The ACORN Standards content is determined by the ACORN Board of Directors, ACORN staff and volunteer experts in the field of perioperative nursing. The Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor review all content before it is published.
Access to The New ACORN Standards for individuals is included in the local state or territory association membership fee, or the affiliate membership fee.
Individual subscription: The Standards for Individuals is a member benefit to all members of ACORN. To access the Standards for Individuals all you need to do is become a financial member of your local state or territory association, become a fellow, or become an affiliate member of ACORN.
Access to The New ACORN Standards for organisations is available through a 12-month subscription.
Organisation subscription: Pricing for multiple users is available. Visit the Standards store to purchase the Standards for Organisations subscription.
Purchase an Organisation subscription now
Government organisations and universities: Please email email@example.com for pricing and to organise your subscription to the standards.
The ACORN members login page provides details to reset your ACORN username and/or password. Please follow the steps exactly as written. Click the 'Forgot your password' or 'Forgot your username' link, whichever applies. You will be prompted to provide additional unique information including the email address associated with your ACORN membership account. You will receive an email containing instructions on resetting your password or username.
First, we recommend clearing your browser’s cookies, saved passwords, and data from automatically filled forms, then trying to log in again.
If you still have login issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New ACORN Standards require an internet connection and one of the following web browsers:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Apple Safari
The New ACORN Standards are also compatible with Android and iOS smartphones and mobile devices.
One month prior to when your subscription is set to expire, you should receive a renewal notice by email from ACORN. Please respond to renew your subscription. If you have not renewed ACORN will send a further reminder one week prior to your subscription's expiration date.
If you have questions about renewal, please email email@example.com.
ACORN Standards subscriptions are intended only for the use of the individual or organisation subscriber. Any sharing of ACORN Standards log in information or content is a violation of ACORN's licence with you or your organisation.
Only the Standards for Individuals may be downloaded and printed.
Please note: The re-use or distribution of the ACORN Standards or content without the express written permission of ACORN is a violation of Australian copyright law. Sharing of the ACORN Standards e-subscriptions is not authorised.
All content in the ACORN Standards is protected by Australian copyright law, and re-use of any material (including text, tables and figures) requires express written permission from ACORN. Permission is granted on a case-by-case basis.
To request permission, please complete the Standards feedback form and explain how you would like to use the material.
The recommended citation is:
Australian College of Perioperative Nurses Ltd (ACORN). The New ACORN Standards: Volume 1 – 2023 Standards for Safe and Quality Care in the Perioperative Environment (SSQCPE) for Individuals. Adelaide, South Australia: ACORN; 2023.
Australian College of Perioperative Nurses Ltd (ACORN). The New ACORN Standards: Volume 2 – 2023 Professional Practice Standards for Perioperative Nurses (PPSPN) for Individuals. Adelaide, South Australia: ACORN; 2023.
Australian College of Perioperative Nurses Ltd (ACORN). The New ACORN Standards: Volume 3 – 2023 Standards for Safe and Quality Care in the Perioperative Environment (SSQCPE) for Organisations. Adelaide, South Australia: ACORN; 2023.
Australian College of Perioperative Nurses Ltd (ACORN). The New ACORN Standards: Volume 4 – 2023 Professional Practice Standards for Perioperative Nurses (PPSPN) for Organisations. Adelaide, South Australia: ACORN; 2023.
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