The Perioperative Nursing Workforce Program in NSW: How a professional perioperative nursing association meets one of its mandates Part 1

Publication Type:
Journal Article
ACORN, 2010, 23 (4), pp. 12 - 14
Issue Date:
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The need to review and change the way nursing care is delivered in perioperative settings is predicated on nursing workforce shortages, the changing, increasingly technologised and risk-prone OR practice milieu, and increasing demand for surgery. In responding to members' concerns about these issues, the NSW Operating Theatre Association Inc. (NSW OTA) in conjunction with and with sponsorship from the NSW Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, initiated and oversaw the development of a program, called the Perioperative Nursing Workforce Program (PNWP). The aims of this program are to make better use of human resources, to improve the way care is provided and thus improve patient outcomes; and to empower perioperative nurses so they are capable of independently improving their working environment. The program, which takes a practice development approach, program participants and some of their projects are presented in this paper. What is known about the topic The role of perioperative professional nursing associations is to write standards for practice and to assist in the professional development of their members. Practice development is hypothesised to assist clinical nurses to 'see' their work contexts afresh and to implement changes to improve patient care by focusing on patient-centredness and the use of credible evidence. What this article contributes It describes the contents and the implementation of a perioperative nursing workforce program, initiated by the NSW OTA and auspiced by the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, NSW Health. The PNWP uses the tenets of practice development (PD) to achieve its aims and this is possibly the first use of PD in perioperative settings, and on a statewide basis.
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