Roadmap Project

Roadmap to national recognition for ACORN’s Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia

ACORN has been setting standards for perioperative nursing practice since 1980. These standards have gone through many incarnations and are currently published as Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia (the ACORN Standards). We believe the ACORN Standards contribute to safe and quality perioperative care in public and private hospitals across Australia. Unfortunately, not all hospitals use them.

The Roadmap project is an ambitious multi-year project that seeks to promote the ACORN Standards nationally and broaden their reach and adoption in hospitals across Australia. The project team will engage with individuals, hospitals, universities, private sector businesses and government bodies to promote the adoption of the ACORN Standards and also seeks to actively involve ACORN members in the task of raising awareness and increasing the uptake of the Standards.

Development of the Roadmap project

In February 2019, the ACORN Board of Directors engaged consultant Randall Pearce, of THINK: Insight and Advice, to assist with the development of the Roadmap project.

In June THINK: Insight and Advice conducted a qualitative action research study composed of in-depth interviews with a range of internal and external stakeholders and compiled a report for the board. The findings of the study showed that there is demonstrated need and sufficient scope for a project of this nature.  ACORN officially launched the Roadmap project at the inaugural Perioperative Leadership Summit in Canberra in September. A design workshop with nearly 40 internal and external stakeholders was held in October, in Sydney, to draft a National Action Plan to guide the project.

Leadership of the project

ACORN has been very fortunate to recruit a group of six talented individuals to form the National Leadership Group (NLG) which will provide leadership, governance and oversight for the project. ACORN is honoured that Adjunct Professor Deb Thoms, former Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, has accepted the role of chair of the NLG. Other members include: Kathy Baker AM, Nurse Advisor, National Safety and Quality in Health Care (NSQHC); Allan Chapman, New South Wales State Manager, Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS); Associate Professor Christine Dennis, College of Business, Government and Law, Flinders University; Peter Roessler, Director of Professional Affairs, Australian New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA); Ruth Melville, former president, International Federation of Perioperative Nurses (IFPN) and ACORN, CNC Patient Safety and Quality – Perioperative & SCHHS Laser Radiation Safety Officer, Surgical Services, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, and Garry Stratton, President, ACORN. Rebecca East, ACORN's CEO, will provide staff support. The NLG will operate in parallel to the ACORN board. The ACORN President and CEO will provide strong links back to the organisation. 

The NLG will oversee the work of four workstream teams (WSTs). Each WST will focus on one of four workstreams relevant to promoting the ACORN Standards – research, standards and the standard-setting process, professional standards and training, and the activation model through which ACORN promotes and markets the Standards. The WSTs will work over the course of 15 months to July 2021. Membership of the WSTs will be announced shortly.

Objectives of the project

The Roadmap project is an important part of ACORN's strategic plan for the next three years. The project's objectives are to:

  • increase demand for standardised perioperative nursing care by boosting awareness of the ACORN Standards among perioperative nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists, hospital administrators, health care companies and insurers, government and the community
  • encourage the adoption of the ACORN Standards by fortifying the evidence base which underpins them
  • remove barriers to the adoption of the ACORN Standards by reviewing and refining the Standards and the process used to set them
  • establish ACORN’s Professional Standards as the minimum level of qualification for perioperative nursing by aligning them with the ACORN Standards
  • create opportunities to develop the next generation of perioperative nursing leaders
  • engage and grow the ACORN membership by demonstrating effective national leadership of the perioperative nursing profession.

The Roadmap to National Recognition for ACORN’s Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia is an exciting project that will push the ACORN Standards to the forefront of the minds of health care decision-makers nationally. We ask you as ACORN members to actively engage with the project and to consider what you can do to promote awareness of the Standards among your perioperative colleagues and encourage hospital management and decision-makers to adopt the Standards.

Project timeline

February 2019

The ACORN Board of Directors engages a consultant, Randall Pearce from THINK: Insight and Advice, to assist with the development of a project that aims to deliver national recognition and uptake of Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia (the ACORN Standards).

June 2019

THINK: Insight and Advice conduct a qualitative action research study composed of 36 one-on-one, in-depth interviews with a range of internal and external stakeholders.

August 2019

The ACORN board reviews the Roadmap Project Stakeholder Consultation Report and approves the budget for the project.

September 2019

The National Leadership Group (NLG) is formed to oversee the work of four workstream teams (WSTs).

The project is launched on 5 September 2019 at the Perioperative Leadership Summit in Canberra.

October 2019

Representatives from all stakeholder groups are recruited.

A design workshop with NLG and WST members is held on 25 October 2019 in Sydney.

November 2019

A work plan is developed for approval by the ACORN board.

February 2020

The inaugural meeting of the NLG is held.

March 2020

The inaugural meetings of the WSTs are held. The teams meet every six weeks until June 2021.

April 2021

Evaluation of the project is carried out between 5 and 23 April 2021.

July 2021

The final evaluation report is delivered to the ACORN board.

For the latest information about the project's progress please continue to visit this page of our website –