Frequently Asked Questions

Please see the frequently asked questions related to education that ACORN receives.

If you are unable to find the answer you need in the below FAQs, please submit an enquiry to ACORN Education via the ACORN website > Contact Us > Education enquiry submission, or by clicking here.


All ACORN Education courses are delivered through the ACORN Education Learning Platform. You can access the platform by choosing the ACORN Education Learning Platform from the Education dropdown menu on the ACORN website, or by clicking below.
From here, you can sign in, create an account, and view the course catalog. Select the course that you are wanting to enrol in by selecting the 'register' button for the relevant course, and follow the prompts.
ACORN members can access fee waiver discounts towards post graduate qualifications (H5F Graduate Certificate in Nursing - Specialisation) through our partnership with the University of Tasmania. 2022 applications are open, apply online to commence your study.
Specialisations available to ACORN members under this scholarship are:
- Perioperative Nursing
- Leadership in Practice
- Clinical Nursing and Teaching
- Anaesthetics and Recovery
To be eligible for a UTAS scholarship you must be a current member of ACORN. You must submit proof of membership when you apply. Please log into your ACORN account and download your ACORN membership card as proof of membership.
If you have questions about the courses available on a UTAS scholarship, your application or your study, you must contact UTAS course enquiries directly on, or phone 03 6226 4757.
If you would like to request a webinar or education session topic, please submit an enquiry via the ACORN website  or by clicking below. 
We value the input and requests from our ACORN members to ensure that the education being provided is relevant and appropriate to the needs of the perioperative community.
You can also use this same enquiry to express your interest in providing a webinar to the ACORN members and perioperative community. We welcome expressions of interest at any time. Please ensure that you submit your contact details, and chosen education topic, and one of our team will get back to you.
The Perioperative Nurse Surgeon's Assistant (PNSA) is a nurse who has undertaken additional education and mentoring to learn skills to be an assistant to the surgeon. This role provides a high level of autonomy and a high level of job satisfaction. In the intra-operative phase the PNSA provides support to both the patient and the perioperative team. The role may also involve preoperative patient assessment and post-operative patient follow-up. Working in close consultant with a specific surgeon, the PNSA:
meets and assesses patients prior to surgery
provides support and patient education
ensures that preoperative screening and relevant testing has been completed
ensures a smooth admission for the upcoming procedure. 
Knowledge and skills
The PNSA needs to be a highly knowledgeable and skilled perioperative nurse with excellent assessment, communication, problem solving and critical analysis skills. A PNSA practices under the supervision of the surgeon for all intra-operative practice. 
Education pathway 
This role is suitable for registered nurses who have completed a Bachelor of Nursing degree and a postgraduate degree in perioperative nursing.  PNSA education is offered as part of a master’s degree as well as specialist PNSA single subjects for those who have previously completed a master’s degree. PNSA students require the engagement of a surgeon mentor and supervisor. 
La Trobe University offers a specific PSNA course Perioperative Nurse Surgical Assistant (PNSA), Courses and degrees, Short courses, La Trobe University. For further information about this course please contact the Postgraduate Course Coordinator (Perioperative Care) Cathy Dean via email:    
If you are an undergraduate nursing nurse, there are a number of things you can do to prepare yourself for the new knowledge and skills needed to be successful in gaining access to the perioperative nursing speciality. It is a great advantage if you obtain a placement in the operating suite while completing undergraduate studies and during your graduate year. When choosing where to spend your graduate year, look for health service organisations that offer the operating suite as a placement option.
'Fundamentals of Perioperative Nursing' programs will soon be available on the ACORN Education learning platform. This can be accessed by selecting 'ACORN Education Learning Platform' from the Education dropdown menu on the ACORN website.
It is also beneficial to read textbooks and use other resources which will provide a great foundation on which to build your knowledge and capabilities. Keep up-to-date with the latest in perioperative research by reading the Journal of Perioperative Nursing. You can access this by selecting 'Journal and Research' on the ACORN website navigation menu (at the top). The textbook Perioperative Nursing: An Introduction (2016, 2nd edition) is a also good reference with which to begin.