Overview

Evolving from a set of ten resolutions agreed upon by Australian perioperative leaders at the 1977 inaugural national meeting of the Australian perioperative nursing community the ACORN Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia (ACORN Standards) are now in their 15th edition.

Aims

The core aim of the ACORN Standards is to support ACORN members, and Australian perioperative nurses to deliver safe and high-quality perioperative care. This aim aligns directly with ACORN's vision for Australian patients to receive the safest and highest quality evidence-based perioperative care in the world.

Additionally, the ACORN standards also aim to assist and guide Australian perioperative nurses in their efforts to:

  • reduce risks to perioperative staff

  • comply with relevant Australian national, jurisdictional and local accreditation processes, legislative and regulatory instruments and requirements and

  • review and improve current perioperative practices consistent with and in response to professional trends, published evidence, scientific discoveries, technological innovations and emerging biological, disease-related or societal threats and norms.

Standards Committee Oversight

Providing clinical insight and professional recommendations about the content of the biennial publication of the ACORN Standards for Perioperative Nursing is the primary function of the ACORN Standards Committee. The ACORN Standards Committee makes these recommendations to the ACORN Board of Directors through ACORN Management. For more information about the ACORN Standards Committee please visit Committees.

ACORN Members' Contributions

A key characteristic of the ACORN Standards since their inception has been their reliance on contributions from ACORN members. Most often standards' contributors have worked in small teams of perioperative experts voluntarily undertaking reviews and analysis of existing evidence to inform authorship or co-authorship of a specific standard or suite of standards. These volunteer efforts are substantial. They are also vital to the revision and biannual publication of an updated edition of the ACORN Standards.

As the ACORN Standards flourished, they understandably became more comprehensive and detailed. ACORN members continue to embrace and take up the ACORN Standards as do individuals, professional organisations, national and jurisdictional authorities and commercial partners who are external to ACORN but supportive of ACORN's efforts.

ACORN Coordination of the Standards

Timely, well-informed coordination, promotion and revision of the ACORN Standards are increasingly complex and demanding. In 2009 ACORN recruited a salaried research assistant to check the validity of references used in the Standards. In 2012 ACORN revised, expanded and reconfigured oversight of the Standards. The ACORN Board created an honorarium-based position of Standards Editor. ACORN appointed Dr Sonya Osborne PhD to the position of inaugural Standards Editor in 2013.  As Standards Editor, Dr Osborne revolutionised and improved the content and every aspect of the ACORN Standard's development and review process before resigning in mid-2018.

The ACORN Board reviewed and abolished the Standards Editor position in late 2018 before recruiting, for the newly developed, permanent part-time position of Professional Standards Officer (PSO).  Dr Cath Murphy currently holds the PSO position working closely with the ACORN Standards Committee, Board of Directors and ACORN management to continually improve ACORN Standard's content, implementation, uptake, review and alignment with the important internal and external drivers as well as ACORN member needs.