Perioperative Nurse Roles


Perioperative nurses provide care for patients before, during and after they undergo surgery or interventional procedures. A Perioperative nurse will assist in helping patients feel less anxious before the operation, provide assistance to the surgical team during the operation, and assist the patient after surgery to provide the best care to ensure that patient needs are met both pre and post surgery.

As a Perioperative Nurse, your duties encompass a range of roles, including but not limited to:

  • Pre-operative patient assessment and education nurse
  • Anaesthetic nurse
  • Circulating nurse
  • Instrument nurse
  • Post Anaesthesia Care Unit nurse
  • Perioperative Nurse Surgeon’s Assistant
  • Nurse practitioners

Watch the series of interviews below, filmed by Deakin University (2018) to learn more about the different perioperative nursing roles.

The role of the Instrument nurse

The role of the Circulating nurse

The role of the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU) nurse

The role of the Anaesthetic nurse


For a detailed explanation of each role, visit the Australian College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN) webpage ‘Perioperative Careers’

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The Victorian Perioperative Nurses Group acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners of the land and acknowledges and pays respects to the Elders past, present and emerging.

VPNG is comitted to safe and inclusive workplaces, policies and services for people of LGBTIQ communities and their families.

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