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The Oak June 2024

From the CEO

We are excited to announce that registrations for the ACORN 2024 International Conference, Uniting and Igniting, are now open! The conference will be from 28 to 30 November 2024 at the ATC Royal Randwick in Sydney, New South Wales.

This conference will be the first face-to-face ACORN conference since 2018 and will provide perioperative nurses and the profession with an opportunity to hear from international and Australian leaders in the field and network with colleagues and trade representatives. We have secured an impressive exhibition space and are fortunate to have a very active and supportive Events committee whose members are community leaders with experience in events both as organisers and as delegates.

image-20240603120006-1Our call for abstracts closed at the end of May and we thank all the talented and passionate people who submitted. We look forward to seeing some of those papers presented. ACORN Education Officer, Angela Jarkey, has fabulous plans for the education program and we have secured a great line-up of keynote speakers. A detailed program will be available soon.

The social program, which is included with full registration, aims for meaningful interaction between delegates, speakers, presenters and industry specialists. Our gala dinner will be on the conference site in the glorious ballroom and is themed ‘a touch of sparkle’.

Your attendance is all we need to make this event a great success.

Diane Harapin


Photo: Diane and Angela on International Nurses Day with perioperative staff at St George Hospital in Sydney

From the Board Chair

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to ACORN members and directors for their warm welcome as I step into the role of ACORN Board Chair. I am deeply appreciative of this opportunity to engage in work that I am passionate about and I am inspired by the leadership demonstrated by Jess over the past two years.

Since starting in the role, I have been learning about ACORN’s inner workings and I am confident that ACORN is strategically positioned to continue its mission of serving our members and communities. I am committed to ACORN continuing to provide high-quality, evidence-based support and resources to the perioperative nursing community.

I commend the dedication of our staff as they translate the strategic vision of the Board of Directors into action. Together, we will continue to advocate for and support perioperative nurses across Australia, foster collaborations with other professional bodies, and engage with perioperative nursing organisations in our region and further afield.

Recently, ACORN was represented at the International Federation of Perioperative Nurses (IFPN) board meeting in Valencia, Spain, by Director Tarryn Armour. I received her insightful report that highlighted the shared challenges faced by our perioperative colleagues worldwide and our collective commitment to supporting nurses in delivering high-quality care to their patients. Thank you, Tarryn, for representing us with distinction.

Looking ahead to the second half of the year, ACORN will host its first post-pandemic, face-to-face perioperative nursing conference in Sydney in November. Our dedicated team is diligently working to bring the conference committee's vision to fruition, creating a program that fosters unity within our profession and reignites our passion for the invaluable work we do every day to ensure the surgical safety of patients in our communities.

I eagerly anticipate our gathering in November, where we can celebrate our profession, share knowledge and renew our collective passion.

Warm regards

Caroline Johnson
ACORN Board Chair

We have been blown away by the calibre and quality of the abstracts submitted for our conference. We are very excited about the program that we’re putting together and can’t wait to see you all there in November.


ACORN offers a range of fundamentals courses that provide comprehensive content, designed to ensure the basics of all perioperative nursing topics are covered. Courses range from 16 to 20 continuing professional development (CPD) points and are mapped and approved in line with the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards.

To find out more about what courses available, visit the ACORN website. If you know which course you want to do, click on it below and follow the prompts. 

Fundamentals of intraoperative nursing

Fundamentals of anaesthetic nursing

And don’t forget that ACORN members receive a 15% discount on all course registration fees! Simply email to receive your member discount coupon code.


ACORN Education webinars are free for all ACORN members this is a benefit of your membership. Simply log in to your ACORN account to access these webinars.

A number of new webinars, covering a range of topics, went live in May. And we have now added many of the presentations from the 2022 Virtual Conference to our webinar page.

Grants and scholarships

Bravura Education offers scholarships for ACORN members to complete a laser safety officer (LSO) training course (surgical and operating suite). 

This laser safety officer course is suitable for those who work in an operating suite or other clinical environment that uses lasers. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the operation and hazards of lasers. The course is delivered online and takes eight to ten hours to complete. You can study at your own pace, in your own time and take as long as you like to do it. Assessment is a two-hour, online, open book exam. 

The second round of applications opens on 1 September, so don’t worry if you missed the round that has just closed.

Special interest groups

Are you passionate about a particular area of perioperative nursing? You may want to consider joining one of the ACORN special interest groups (SIGs) to connect with like-minded passionate nurses and industry experts. Visit our website for more information.



ACORN representation, clinical excellence and what is happening in the world of perioperative nursing


We are here to represent and advocate for you!

Did you know that ACORN provides representation for perioperative nursing on several state, national and international committees? We continually strive to have the perioperative nursing voice heard so that our profession’s values, excellence and practice are represented when external standards or guidelines are being developed and reviewed.

This year, ACORN has provided feedback on or been involved in the development or review of several standards and guidelines.

Standards Australia:

  • HE-003 Medical electrical equipment
  • HE-011 Safe management of sharps and healthcare related waste
  • HE-013 Surgical apparel
  • HE-023 Processing of medical and surgical instruments
  • TX-015 Textiles for healthcare.

Australian Health Facility Guidelines – feedback provided on the draft of ‘0520 – Operating theatre’ guidelines.

Department of Health (Victoria) ‘Perioperative Service Capability Framework’ review of the ACORN Standards references and the potential impact for state-based implications of this framework for future iterations of the ACORN Standards.

ACORN personnel are also part of Standards Australia national committees – five active committees and several temporarily inactive committees. Committees become ‘active’ when a standard is being reviewed or created. All the committees that ACORN participates in have direct links to the relevant international standards (ISO/IEC Standards).

Other committees ACORN is involved in include:

Health Care Consumers Association (HCCA ACT) – providing a perioperative nursing representative voice and perspective

DonateLife Committee - collaborating on and advising in the Australia-wide review and development of national education materials for clinicians engaging in organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

Coalition of National Nursing & Midwifery Organisations (CoNNMO) – ACORN representatives attended the recent CONMO meeting in May to ensure that the organisation was staying abreast of changes to the landscape and to provide a perioperative voice at a national level to fellow representative organisations from the discipline.

In addition, ACORN representatives recently had meetings with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care regarding the sentinel events review process and how surgical fires fit into the reporting landscape at a national level. This is an ongoing process of review and consultation, and we look forward to updating you when an outcome has been achieved.


ACORN Standards at your fingertips.

Did you know that you can access ACORN standards for individuals and guidelines for FREE via the ACORN app? (Instructions for downloading and using the app are included below.) You can also access your membership card, news, journal articles and updates about ACORN events. With the ACORN 2024 International Conference around the corner, use the app to help stay up to date with what’s happening.

One of the benefits of being an ACORN member is that you have abridged versions of ACORN standards that focus on clinical aspects available at your fingertips. And, if you still love to have a paper-based version, you can even print them out. Please remember that printed documents may be superseded when research or evidence changes. So always refer to the electronic versions of the ACORN Standards for the most up-to-date information.


Downloading the app

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



STEP 2. Click on your new Member Jungle App icon 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 advancements, practices or research pertaining to perioperative nursing on a global scale, the clinical excellence portfolio includes regular briefings and updates to the ACORN Board of Directors of what have been happening in the wider environment. See below some of the highlights for April and May 2024.


Influence of external assessment on quality and safety in surgery: A qualitative study of surgeons' perspectives

Effect of interventions to improve safety culture on healthcare workers in hospital settings: A systematic review of the international literature

Optimizing teamwork in the operating room: A scoping review of actionable teamwork strategies

Ambient conditions of the operating theatre and its correlation with fatigue and sleep quality of operating room workers: a cross-sectional survey

Refining successful implementation strategies for the surgical safety checklist in high-income contexts: Results of an international mixed methods study

Preoperative communication between anesthesia, surgery, and primary care providers for older surgical patients

Team relations and role perceptions during anesthesia crisis management in magnetic-resonance imaging settings: A mixed methods exploration


Standards, guidelines, public policy or government reports

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) has released the 2023 CARAlert Annual Report, which provides analyses of data submitted to the National Alert System for Critical Antimicrobial Resistances (CARAlert).

Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce – Scope of Practice Review: This independent scope of practice review examines the barriers and incentives health practitioners face working to their full scope of practice in primary care.

World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines update: Guidelines for the prevention of bloodstream infections and other infections associated with the use of intravascular catheters: Part I: peripheral catheters.

The Framework for Australian clinical quality registries Second Edition (Framework 2nd edition) provides future-focussed guidance to jurisdictional health departments and CQR custodians to support well-designed CQRs operating under, or moving towards national arrangements to meet their core purpose.

WHO terminology change: Following several years of collaboration with major public health agencies, the WHO has broadened its classification of airborne diseases – a move that could have significant influence over infection control policies in countries around the world.

Pilot Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) document: PG07(A) Guideline on pre-anaesthesia consultation and patient preparation. The purpose of this document is to assist doctors with assessment and preparation of patients being considered for surgery.


Advancement and innovation

NYU Langone Health, in New York city, performed the first combined mechanical heart pump and organ transplant surgery and implanted the second gene-edited pig kidney in the world.

Catheter intervention for aortic aneurysm - handmade prosthesis for emergencies. In the event of an emergency, the University Hospital Zurich offers a procedure that is unique in Switzerland. A surgeon creates a customised prosthesis directly in the operating theatre.

The innovative SmartGown™ EDGE, is enhanced with two instrument pockets and a holster, designed to improve efficiency not only for the primary surgeon, but also for their assistants, who typically stand on the opposite side of the operating table.


Case studies, reports, mainstream media coverage

Ozempic: Physicians and physician groups have expressed concern surrounding procedures, especially those involving anaesthesia, in patients taking glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist weight loss medications, including Ozempic.

LSCS (lower segment caesarean section) has been approved in the United States of America to be performed outside of the hospital setting. Within a new package of Florida health care laws is a debated measure to allow advanced birth centres to perform caesarean deliveries.

Investigation report: Retained swabs following invasive procedures: This is a legacy investigation completed by the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) under the National Health Service in England (Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch) Directions 2022.


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

The future of artificial intelligence in perioperative nursing

By Erin Wakefield and Nick Nijkamp

Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands poised at the forefront of health care innovation, promising transformative advances across multiple domains. In the field of perioperative nursing, where precision, efficiency and patient safety are paramount, the integration of AI holds immense potential to revolutionise clinical practice.

Read the full article

ACORN’s work is supported by seven state and territory perioperative nursing associations (the local associations or LAs).

LA President reports

While each of the associations retains its own integrity and independence, together we find strength in unity to provide professional leadership in perioperative practice and the advancement of safe, quality perioperative nursing care for Australians.

SAPNA mentoring program

15 June, 6 July, Burnside War Memorial Hospital, Adelaide 

ACORN Queensland state conference

25–26 October, Marcoola, Queensland 

ACORN 2024 International Conference

28–30 November, ATC, Randwick, Sydney