Title : Entry to perioperative practice
The entry to practice of perioperative nurses is a socially important issue, with more than 50% of hospital admissions for surgery and the successful conduct of surgery depending upon skilled nurses, of whom there is a global shortage. Unlike undergraduate nursing education, learning in nursing specialties occurs primarily via on the job training. Despite being a highly-specialised role, there is no prerequisite education for entering the specialty. Current models of becoming a perioperative nurse are without a formal agreed entry pathway and are locally embodied expressions of ontologic, epistemic and axiologic structures.
Because the goal of the undergraduate nursing degree is to prepare a generalist nurse, the novice must acquire the knowledge base and skills to perform as a perioperative nurse separately. This can only be achieved through employment in the specialty, so many operating theatres offer institution specific programs and on the job training. Conceptualisations of learning in this environment prioritise skills-based task assessments and clinical needs, and fail to acknowledge the complex and gradual process of enskilment in the specialty.