Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Course

This course aims to prepare graduate registered nurses to work as specialists in perioperative nursing in the roles of the instrument and circulating nurse and to gain experience in the anaesthetic & recovery nursing roles. The course provides opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and skills by integrating theory and perioperative nursing clinical practice in order to engage in clinical decision making.

The St Vincent’s Hospital (SVH) Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Course is run over one year and incorporates two perioperative units – Perioperative [Specialty] Nursing 1 and Perioperative [Specialty] Nursing 2 and clinical rotations. 

Information below includes;

Features of the course
Course Unit descriptions
Nomenclature of Award
Credits / Affiliation with Australian Catholic University
Application information


Features of the course

Structured Clinical Rotations: A key feature of the Course are the clinical rotations which provide students the opportunity to gain clinical experience in the anaesthetic, circulating, instrument and recovery room nursing roles. Surgical specialties include: Cardiac, ENT, General, Gynecology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Plastics, Thoracic, Trauma, Urology and Vascular.  Programs may include rotations to other hospitals to meet specific clinical requirements such as Obstetrics experience.

Assessments: Student progress throughout Clinical rotations is assessed on an individual basis utilising a variety of assessment methods and tools.  Assessments will include specialty clinical competencies; clinical workbooks for specialty rotations, professional performance reviews, presentations and written assessments.

Study Days are allocated for clinically focused learning in both units.  Content of these Study Days is designed to complement the theoretical content of tertiary programs.  Teaching and Learning strategies may include lectures and tutorials, clinical visits, literature appraisal, discussions, assessments, workshops, self-directed learning opportunities and presentations.

Educational and Clinical Support: Emphasis is placed on adult learning principles, which encourage individuals to take responsibility for personal and professional development.  The Nurse Educator’s responsibility is in teaching participants effective learning strategies such as independent and/or self-directed learning.  This type of learning contributes to personal and professional growth, promotes lifelong learning and enables the individual to pursue excellence in patient care.  All clinical areas have Nurse Educators and Clinical Nurse Specialists to provide guidance and support.  

Course unit descriptions

Perioperative [Specialty] Nursing 1 (SN1)  

The aim of this unit is to prepare students to provide holistic care in perioperative nursing.  Students will examine and apply knowledge and skills for safe, competent person and family-centred care relevant to perioperative nursing.  The unit focuses on enabling students to perform a comprehensive health assessment and prioritise, implement and evaluate appropriate nursing care. 

Specialty Nursing 1 is conducted in first semester and includes five (5) study days (40 hours).

This unit may be undertaken independently of the Perioperative Nursing Course.

Perioperative [Specialty] Nursing 2 (SN2)  

This unit builds on and extends the knowledge and understanding acquired in [Specialty] Nursing 1. The aim is to transfer knowledge gained to develop further the nurses’ skills in providing holistic care. This will include person and family-centred health management in specialty practice. The focus of the unit is on transferring knowledge and enhancing nurses’ skills to work and advocate within the interdisciplinary team on planning and providing care for people and families experiencing complex and diverse health problems. The student’s ability to articulate the evidence base for clinical decisions will be facilitated.

Specialty Nursing 2 is conducted in second semester and includes five (5) study days (40 hours). SP1 is a pre-requisite for SP2.

This unit may be undertaken independently of the Perioperative Nursing Clinical Course.

Course Duration

The SVH Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Course commences in February and concludes in December each year.  
All lectures are delivered in face to face format.

Nomenclature of Award

A Certificate of Clinical Nursing Practice (Perioperative) is awarded by St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney on successful completion of the one year course. 

Affiliation with Australian Universities

It is recommended all students complete a tertiary program in addition to the St Vincent’s Hospital Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Course with aim of completing a Graduate Certificate and the option of continuing to Diploma or Masters.  The following diagrams demonstrates examples of course structure.


Note:  To be eligible for the ‘Continuing Education Allowance’ at St Vincent’s Hospital RNs must complete 4 units of study.  

A formal credit agreement exists with Australian Catholic University (ACU) and University of Tasmania (UTas).  Students who successfully complete the specialty nursing units at St Vincent’s Hospital can apply to these universities for credit, as outlined below, through the normal course application procedures.



For further information regarding ACU post graduate course please go to the ACU website.   If you are interested in applying for the ACU course please advise the SVHS Nurse Educator who will contact ACU and request you be sent the special VIP ACU 2x2 Application link. 


UTAS graph 

For further information regarding UTas go to the UTAS website or click here for UTAS Course Information.

Commonwealth/SVHS funded positions may be available upon application.


To financially assist students, St Vincent's Hospital Division of Nursing sometimes offers number of scholarships in an endeavor to support RNs to undertake tertiary based Post Graduate study relating to clinical specialties at SVHS.

Scholarships are also available through various other organisations, such as the NSW Ministry of Health  and the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association.


Closing Date:  Monday 28th October 2022
Applicants are required to complete an online application form. 

Student Selection 

The selection of St Vincent’s Hospital Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Course students is based on academic and employment suitability.
To be eligible for the Specialty Nursing Units & Course registered nurses must:

  • Be employed within the Operating Suite of St. Vincent’s Hospital Sydney(SVHS) or St Vincent’s Private Hospital (SVPH) for the duration of the course.  
  • Be registration as a Registered Nurse in Australia,
  • Have a minimum of 12 months’ post registration nursing experience including a minimum of 6 months perioperative instrument/circulating nursing experience.
  • Have completed all SVHS/SVPH mandatory training requirements
  • Have support and positive appraisal from your current employer

Desirable criteria for the Clinical course include that registered nurses should:

  • have a minimum of 12 months post registration medical/surgical nursing experience in the chosen specialty by the course commencement date
  • be concurrently enrolled in tertiary clinical nursing studies or Clinical Practice Nursing Units.

Note: As positions are limited nurses are required to seek full time employment at SVHS prior to applying for the course.  Employment is offered on a full time basis and rotating rosters apply. Employment conditions are in accordance with the NSW Nurses (State) Award.
Note: Registered Nurses employed external to SVHS are eligible to apply for Specialty Nursing Units (not the SVH Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Clinical Course).

Costs:  There are no fees for Specialty Nursing 1 and Specialty Nursing 2 when undertaken concurrently within the St Vincent’s Hospital Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Course. If undertaken independently of SVH Postgraduate Perioperative Nursing Course the Specialty Nursing units are fee-paying unit and attracts a cost of $900 per unit.  Fees may be eligible for tax deduction.


Nakita Magua, Nurse Educator Perioperative Courses: 

Phone: 02 8382 3545 or mobile 0434566670