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The Oak February 2024

From the CEO

Happy 2024! On behalf of my little team, I wish you an amazing year ahead with good health and much happiness.

We have been connecting with many of you on social media and answering queries. We look forward to a productive year and meeting many more of you online and face to face.

As you know, when you become a member of ACORN, you join via your local (state or territory) association. As of last year, ACORN National receives $30 from each state membership payment. This is a $15 increase from previous years. ACORN National employs two full-time and three part-time employees, whereas local associations operate primarily with a volunteer workforce. I have been undertaking a review of our commitments to our local associations and have endeavoured to foster relationships and work towards an ongoing collaborative approach to supporting members.

ACORN National values your membership and is committed to providing holistic perioperative education opportunities, evidence-based guidelines for practice and targeted membership benefits. Additionally, we manage many enquiries, provide webinars, run special interest groups, host national education events (the Perioperative Leadership Summit and biennial conference), report to regulatory bodies, and engage with stakeholders, including state and federal governments. We provide every member with an individual license to access The New ACORN Standards on their device.

It has been a busy January, supporting several programs and working on updating and modernising our policies. We have also developed a corporate calendar and have added some international events to our website that may be of interest. Congratulations to the United Kingdom’s Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP) on their 60-year anniversary!

We appreciate your patience as we are a small team with significant obligations. ACORN’s values are communication, collaboration, excellence and innovation. In the spirit of upholding communication, I wanted to share the challenges we experience while meeting your membership needs. 

If you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact us via email at

With best wishes,

Diane Harapin CEO


From the Board Chair

Happy new year!

As I look out my window on Perth sweltering in 41° heat, I think of our members and the various weather conditions you’re experiencing, and how these impact us and our perioperative workplaces. Work is such a big component of our lives and as perioperative nurses we have studied and trained extremely hard to undertake the role we have. But we also have homes, families and many other things happening in our lives. At ACORN, we strive to ensure that we are caring for not only the professional frameworks, development and standards but also the wellbeing, networking and collegiality of our members.

Our company is working tirelessly to develop new content for our members, starting with successful recruitment to sentinel positions. Angela Jarkey has commenced in the role of Education Officer and we will shortly be appointing our Clinical Excellence Coordinator. These positions will allow us to get moving on some outstanding commitments, such as the review of The New ACORN Standards and planning for future reviews.

We also plan to reinstate some of our committees so please keep your eye out for opportunities to volunteer for these positions. If you are interested, please contact Diane Harapin at to register your interest. 

ACORN continues its work advocating for our profession. Diane and I have been meeting with state and territory health ministers and departments to ensure a wide understanding of the role that perioperative nurses, and ACORN, play in ensuring patient safety within the operating theatre.

As a community it is essential that we are at the forefront of technological advancements, horizon scanning for opportunities to lead the way with new standards for practice. Work continues this year around evidence-based best practice for robotics and artificial intelligence. In addition, discussions continue regarding long-standing concerns such as surgical plume, safe staffing numbers, access and support within rural and remote communities and scope of practice for our perioperative nursing roles.

Elective surgery management of waitlists, changing health fund allowances and increased pressure on the system has created opportunities for ACORN to advocate for members and their patients. Ensuring safe delivery of perioperative care is essential for us to be an active voice in public and private health systems. Surgical safety checklists and team time outs are vital in ensuring effective communication for patient safety, building team trust and ultimately ensuring that the patient has the best possible outcome. Through ACORN’s involvement in the International Federation of Perioperative Nurses (IFPN), we are seeing a tendency for these safety systems to be dismissed, abused or ignored. As patient advocates, we need to show governments, health service organisations and the public the importance of these tools.

The ACORN directors and staff acknowledge that coming out of the pandemic has been difficult for our members, especially while we are still seeing intermittent spikes of coronavirus infection. I hope that you all stay well this year, keep reading the best literature available, develop quality improvement activities for your workplace and strive to help us continue to evolve our profession. The latest information about the ACORN 2024 conference will be available soon. We’re looking forward to a big 2024!

Kind regards

Jessica Pougnault