Contact Us          Registered Charity

The Oak April 2024

image-20240327210307-3It was a pleasure to attend NSW OTA’s regional conference, in Gosford, last month. It was, frankly, one of the best days I’ve had at work. With the help of Angela Jarkey, ACORN’s wonderful Education Officer, ACORN National had a stand exhibiting archival material. Many members found this interesting and meeting them and hearing their stories was inspirational. In the charity sector, particularly when we work from home, we need to connect with those we serve. We thank the NSW OTA  committee and President, Angela Coleman, for hosting us.  

My job as chief executive officer (CEO) of this extremely busy entity is to oversee everything with a focus on governance, compliance and stakeholder engagement. After a rigorous recruitment process, I am pleased that ACORN now has a qualified and experienced team – in the roles of clinical excellence coordinator, education officer, publications officer and operations manager – to support the company mandate. Stakeholder enquiries are being managed by our whole team, depending on the query. The two clinical roles of clinical excellence coordinator and education officer are working closely with each other to support our community and further the work of the College. And we have engaged external bookkeepers who have made a significant difference and are supporting my work with all the financial governance and compliance areas. 

When needed, ACORN will employ skilled and experienced personnel to manage events, recruitment, marketing and general administration. Recently, we have engaged Sonal Paprocki to support us with recruitment and policy development. Sonal has over 25 years’ experience in human resources and joined us to focus on ACORN’s hiring needs, recruitment processes and employment contracts. She is also helping us ensure that ACORN is compliant with employment legislation and, as such, she has refreshed and written several policies and is working towards a comprehensive register of policies and handbooks. As well as working part-time with ACORN, Sonal is a busy coach and mentor, helping several professionals and business leaders across Australia and Asia with their career development goals. 

This month we report about the review of The New ACORN Standards and what’s been happening in the world of perioperative nursing as well as reminding readers about the ACORN app. 

ACORN standards review 

ACORN periodically reviews its standards for practice and the primary focus at the moment is the review of The New ACORN Standards to ensure that these documents are evidence-based, best-practice and applicable to the Australian health care context. We received over 1000 feedback submissions from ACORN members, health service organisations, subject-matter experts, local collaborative work groups and other external stakeholders. We thank everyone for taking the time and effort to provide their feedback to ensure that these standards are the best that they can be for our perioperative community. 

The process of reviewing each submission began in late February and all feedback was triaged into three categories: 

  1. feedback to inform immediate review and/or amendment of standards 

  1. feedback to inform future iterations of ACORN standards 

  1. feedback that was general discussion, experiences and ideas. 

Now that all feedback is collated and reviewed, the process begins for assessing each standard and whether it needs to be updated. A working party is being reformed to assist this process. The ACORN Standards Working Party (SWP) will not only include representation from subject-matter experts and all Australian states and territories, but also include ACORN members and Fellows to provide coal-face perspectives on the standard being reviewed. 

Any amendments made to The New ACORN Standards (both professional and clinical standards) will be clearly communicated with all stakeholders via a range of channels, including the ACORN website, The Oak newsletter and social media, as well as at ACORN and local association events, where possible. 

ACORN members, are you using the ACORN app? 

In the interest of making standards and guidelines more accessible and user-friendly, you may have seen that we have updated the ACORN app to include all the clinical guidelines, and streamlined the menu options to allow clearer and faster access to the information that nurses need to provide safe, high-quality nursing care in the perioperative setting. 

If you have not yet downloaded the app, please find instructions below. The app gives you easy access to the latest ACORN news, events and your membership details. You will also receive notifications and important reminders whenever the ACORN website is updated with something new. 

Step 1. Download the Member Jungle App from your Apple or Android device.





Step 2. Click on your new Member Jungle App icon, then enter ‘ACORN’ as the organisation. 

Step 3. Log in using your ACORN member details. 

We recommend you allow notifications on your device so that you can receive valuable information and updates from ACORN. 

What has been happening in the world of perioperative nursing? 

To ensure that ACORN remains up to date with the latest technology, practices and research pertaining to perioperative nursing on a global scale, the clinical excellence portfolio regularly briefs the ACORN Board of Directors about what has been happening in the wider environment. See below some of the highlights for March 2024. 


  • Europe: Significant research is underway related to surgical site infection (SSI), specifically around pre-operative patient showering and staff requirement to change scrub attire when leaving the perioperative department. 

  • Europe: Research is underway in six European countries (across 64 general acute care hospitals) looking at physician and nurse well-being, and making recommendations for interventions. 

  • Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE): Investigations into the perceptions of operating theatre nurses and central sterile supply department (CSSD) technicians regarding barriers and facilitators of surgical instrument counts and tray management across three hospitals. 

  • United States of America (USA): ‘Creating a just culture in the perioperative setting’. 

Health and wellbeing 

  • India, United Kingdom (UK), USA: Multiple international cases of perioperative nurses receiving disciplinary action related to sharing work-related videos on TikTok and other social media platforms. 

  • International: Reports of TikTok accounts being used on social media with photos from real physicians, nurses and dental clinicians to promote a range of supplements and unchecked health claims. 

  • Product recalls related to orthopaedic prosthesis implants in the USA. Not yet listed on the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) product recall list but one to watch. Recalls to neurosurgical external drainage and monitoring system catheters in both the USA and Australia. 

Advancement and innovation 

  • USA: Surgical advancement in robotic-assisted technology and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals. First miniaturised robotic-assisted device, Da Vinci 5th generation, AI-assisted colonoscopy devices, AR Surgical systems, Apple Vision Pro and many more. 

  • USA: New surgical procedures being undertaken internationally – The Fontan Procedure, Endoscopic spine surgery, awake spinal surgery – and the development of patient-specific cervical implants for spinal fusions. 

Case studies, reports, mainstream media coverage 

  • USA: Sterilisation issues in three USA hospitals (Florida, Georgia and Virginia) causing significant patient safety issues, procedure delay/cancellation and involving disciplinary action including termination. In one hospital, more than 4500 veterans may have been exposed to a range of blood-borne viruses. 

  • New Zealand: Procedure matching and valid consent. A case report has been published in the mainstream media of a woman in New Zealand who believes there to be a mismatch between the procedure she consented to (hysterectomy) and the one she received (insertion of mesh). Consent form changed and signed pre-procedure; however, the patient had already been administered a pre-medication. 

  • Australia: First Australian private hospital network to cease purchasing Desflurane due to carbon footprint. 

  • UK: A surgeon wrote his initials in donor liver transplant patients using an argon laser. 

We look forward to collaborating with our members, local associations, corporate partners and the wider perioperative community to ensure clinical excellence in the perioperative nursing space, consistently, across Australia. 

SAPNA mentoring program
13 April, 15 June, 6 July, Burnside War Memorial Hospital, Adelaide 

ACORN Queensland regional education day
20 April, Hervey Bay, Queensland

European Operating Room Nurses Association (EORNA) 2024 Congress 
16–18 May, Valencia, Spain

ACORN Queensland conference: Emergence
25–26 October, Marcoola, Queensland

Call for abstracts is open. Conference scholarships are available to ACORN Queensland members. Contact for more information.