Peri-Operative Nursing: Changes and Challenges Facing the Role

Tuesday, 8 July 2008: 1:55 PM
Aileen Burton, RGN, BNS, MSc , Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland, Cork, Ireland

Learning Objective 1: understand the role of the Peri-Operative Nurse in Ireland and be able to compare this with the role internationally

Learning Objective 2: explore the changes and challenges facing this role in Ireland in the future and compare with challenges faced internationally


Peri-operative nurses work in environments that abound with technological advances, new surgical techniques and increasing workplace pressures (McGarvey et al, 2004). The Irish Nurses Organisation Operating Department Section celebrated 40 years in existence in 2007 and so it is was timely to examine the role of peri-operative nurses in order to assess the changes and challenges that nurses who work in this setting are currently facing and also outlining future directions for the role and examine these in the global context.

This quantitative descriptive study used a postal self-administered researcher developed questionnaire for the collection of data. A total of 300 questionnaires were posted nationally by the Irish Nurses Organisation to members of the Operating Department Section of its organisation. Response rate was 35%. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in analysing the questionnaire. Content analysis was used to describe the qualitative data in order to derive a series of themes.

The qualitative data was categorised into three themes:

1) Job satisfaction / dissatisfaction

2) Role and function of the peri-operative nurse

3) Future of peri-operative nursing.

Quantitative data described job satisfaction levels of which 56% said they were usually satisfied. Other areas also examined included age profile of staff, range of peri-operative experience, education and on-call and night duty services.

This presentation will predominantly discuss the qualitative findings of this study and in doing will present a picture of the changes and challenges that face peri-operative nurses in Ireland today and comparing these to international trends.

Bull, RM. Fitzgerald, M. (2004) The Invisible Nurse - Behind the scenes in an Australian OR. AORN Journal 79(4) 810-823

McGarvey, HE.Chambers, MGA. Boore, RP. (2004) The Influence of Context on Role - Behaviours of Perioperative Nurses AORN Journal 80(6) 1103-112