Notre Dame offers unique unit to help shortage of perioperative nurses

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 2-10-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia has introduced a nursing unit which focuses on the care of patients during the period surrounding their surgical procedure. Referred to as Perioperative Nursing Care, the unit introduces students to the operating room specialty through a unique teaching – learning method. Notre Dame is the only university in Western Australia to include this area in a compulsory unit which specifically addresses the shortage of perioperative nurses.

Valuable exposure to the specialty is gained in a clinical workshop organised between the University and St John of God Hospital (Subiaco) and Fremantle Hospital, two of Western Australia’s major hospitals.

The coordinator and lecturer, Ms Karen Clark-Burg explains, “During the clinical workshop, students have the opportunity with tutors to consolidate theory learnt during the semester to the actual environment.“

Students are assessed on essential operating room skills in a ‘real Operating Room (OR) setting’, preparing them to work confidently in operating theatre which is an important aspect of their clinical placement.

“There was overwhelming positive feedback from students,” Ms Clark-Burg said. “They felt that it was an invaluable experience to be learning in an actual OR.”

Professor Selma Alliex, Dean of the School of Nursing said that this hands-on opportunity enhances the chances of students working in the long term in the operating room.

“In the current climate of nursing shortage, a shortage which is more acutely felt in speciality areas, this strategy to immerse students in the operating room ensures that students are familiar with every facet of practice in this area.

“Karen has provided the University with an excellent learning opportunity. In fact, she won an award for her paper on the unit at 2008 National Conference for Operating Theatre Nurses (ACORN) where she presented in May this year. Her paper has also been published in the Journal of Perioperative Practice, England.”

Media contact:

Michelle Ebbs 08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138