Standards review

Revising ACORN's Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia (the Standards) involves a rigorous, structured process that is managed by ACORN's Professional Standards Officer (PSO) and directed by members of the Standards Committee

The PSO maintains and supports a dedicated Standards Advisory Team (SAT). SAT members are all volunteers and must be ACORN members. SAT members represent every perioperative nursing role and setting and include perioperative nursing staff, educators and academics.

Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia includes guidelines and position statements relating to perioperative nursing practice as well as standards for practice. When a particular standard, guideline or position statement is targetted for development or review a small group of SAT members are convened into a specialised team based on their interest and expertise in the specific subject of the document under review. Each document has one author and several co-authors each of whom has clearly defined individual responsibilities within the development or review process. Ideally, each team will have members who collectively represent a variety of stakeholder perspectives, have complimentary knowledge and skill sets and are committed to progressing the development or review according to agreed timelines and milestones.

Historically, the Standards has benefiited from input from academics, clinicians, educators, managers and researchers. On occasion, colleagues and peers from other professional, academic and commercial organisations have also contributed to the development and review process.  

All contributors to the Standards must declare any conflicts of interest that may impact their decision-making. ACORN will make every effort to exclude input from conflicted parties. All SAT members are also required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Each year ACORN contacts its members for expressions of interest in joining the SAT. The 2019 SAT recruitment is now closed and 57 members are currently preparing content for the next edition of the Standards. For a list of documents currently under review and those recently reviewed see below.

The 2019 Standards Advisory Team is also currently working on the following six documents for inclusion in the 16th edition.

Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS)

Requirements for patients colonised or infected with multi-resistant organisms (MROs)

Mental health, wellbeing and safety by eliminating bullying, discrimination and harassment

Managing sensitivity to chlorhexidine (CHG) or natural rubber latex (NRL)

Preparing, implementing and monitoring the perioperative budget

Staffing principles and requirements

Additionally the entire suite of ACORN Standards are currently under review by the SAT specialised team, the Decommissioning Team (DCT). DCT members are each tasked with reviewing the accuracy, currency,  need and utility of every standard. Their assessment, feedback and recommendations will be received and considered by the Standards Committee. The Stadnards Committee will subsequently make recommendations to the ACORN Board. The Board's decision on each standard will remain and form the final content of the next printed edition which will be the 16th edition of the ACORN Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia. 

Individual standards approved prior to release of the 16th edition scheduled for May 2020 in Sydney, will continue to be added to the current e-version available to standards subscribers. ACORN regularly prvides updates to members and subscribers as the Standards evolve.

Next standard to be released

A draft version of a revised Reprocessing of Reusable Medical Devices  ACORN standard is currently under  initial review. Its progress stalled pending the release of the new national Australia Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare.  NHMRC released the new guideline in June 2019 and ACORN anticipates that its revised Reprocessing of Reusable Medical Devices  standard will be the next released.

August 2019

On 20th August 2019 ACORN advised members and subscribers of a newly revised standard, Documentation and patient information.  It is available at page 406 of the current e-version of the ACORN Standards. Our medical editor has included its place within the contents in an unconventional way simply to show that it is replacing the previous version of a standard Documentation which in the previous e-edition and printed 15th editions was under the section title Professional practice and physically at pages 172-174. Please note the current standard is Documentation and patient information at page 406.

ACORN is scheduled to publish a new 16th edition in May 2020. At that time the pagination will be updated to reflect the physical changes to several standards now under review and also those, like Documentation and patient information, which have been updated subsequent to the last printing.

May 2018

The 15th edition of Standards for Perioperative Nursing in Australia was released with three newly revised standards, one new standard and one new guideline. The reference lists throughout this edition were also updated where key legislation or national standards had changed, e.g. standards from Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and Standards Australia.

Revised standards:

  • Instrument nurse role
  • Risk management
  • Safe patient positioning in the perioperative environment.

New standard:

  • Management of hypothermia in the perioperative environment.

New guideline:

  • Management of clinical images in the perioperative environment.

October 2017

The revised position statement 'Single use items' was released in electronic format.

August 2017

The revised standard 'Preoperative patient skin antisepsis' was released in electronic format.

October 2016

The revised guideline 'Management of the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit' was released in electronic format.