ACORN Standards


The Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN) represents perioperative nurses throughout Australia with membership to the College through local State and Territory perioperative associations. ACORN represents the professional interests of perioperative nurses working in the specialty area of perioperative services.

ACORN's mission is to promote excellence in perioperative nursing care. Therefore, the College places great value on the Standards of Practice for Perioperative Nursing, seeing them as one of the most important objectives achieved by the College. The ACORN Standards are referenced, reflecting evidence-based practice, with the aim of contributing to the highest standard of patient care and professional competence in the perioperative environment. The ACORN Standards provide professional guidelines and specific recommended standards of practice and role expectations. They provide a valuable resource for perioperative nurses and other professionals involved with the care of patients in the perioperative environment.

Every two years the ACORN Standards for Perioperative Nursing are researched and reviewed to support contemporary evidenced-based practice. The ACORN Standards are highly respected and are utilised by accreditation authorities with the standards having been cited within the Australian Law Courts in several medico legal cases. It is incumbent on all perioperative nurses to have an understanding of the standards. The standards are available for purchase from ACORN. Please visit the ACORN website and order a copy.

2016-2017 ACORN Standards for Perioperative Nursing

The ACORN standards provide a minimum standard of practice for perioperative nurses, and requirements for visitors and healthcare facilities, including medical company representatives (MCRs). Relevant standards for MCRs are:

Staff and Patient Safety

  • Management of Accountable Items Used During Surgery/Procedures in the Perioperative Environment

Asepsis and Clinical Care

  • Aseptic Technique
  • Infection Prevention
  • Perioperative Attire

Management and Staffing

  • Visitors to the Perioperative Environment.

Infection Prevention

In addition, MTAA has developed Infection Control Guidelines for the Medical Technology Industry. This document aims to assist companies in ensuring staff who enter healthcare facilities can manage and minimise their exposure to infectious diseases and that of patients.

The guidelines support the development of optimal company policies and procedures to reduce this risk. NSW Department of Health has confirmed that the guidelines are aligned to the recommendations set by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare's surveillance document Reducing harm to patients through healthcare associated infections: the role of surveillance, and recommendations in the draft National Infection Control Guidelines.

Adherence to the 2016-2017 ACORN Standards by MCRs

While adherence to the ACORN standards by MCRs is not legislated in any state or territory, some healthcare facilities require ACORN approved training for entry to the perioperative environment.

Both training modules have been developed by MTAA and approved by ACORN to meet this need. These modules, developed and delivered by experienced perioperative nurse educators, provide new and experienced industry personnel with a practical overview of the current ACORN standards in relation to visitors to the perioperative environment. The standards are available for purchase from ACORN. Please click here to visit their website and order a copy.

About the training

MTAA delivers two modules.

Our two training modules will be reviewed by MTAA during June and July 2016, to align with the launch of the revised standards in May 2016. These will be then be released pending approval by ACORN.

Demonstration of participation in such training represents an important step for the medical technology industry in ensuring the safety of patients and visitors alike. Following successful completion of a module, participants receive an MTAA photo ID card that can be presented to clinical staff upon request and a Certificate of Participation. Both modules have also been accredited by ACORN. Once a module is completed, to gain CPD recognition for nurse registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), participants should print their MTAA Certificate of Participation that includes the ACORN Accreditation logo. This should be provided to the NMBA as part of a portfolio of CPD evidence, if requested for their annual nurse registration accreditation. Both modules form part of the Operating Theatre Protocols Training ACORN approved curriculum. For further information about other ACORN accredited MTAA modules, please click here

Module 1.5 Introduction to Operating Theatre Protocols is offered as a one-day training program commencing with theory followed by practical scenarios delivered in a real or simulated operating theatre, and targets MCRs who are new to entering the operating suite. The day concludes with two assessments, a written test and practical routine social hand wash. This module is worth 6 CPD points for registered nurses.

Module 1.6 Operating Theatre Protocol Update is offered as online learning following updates in line with changes to the standards, and targets experienced MCRs. With growing limitations on available time to attend face-to-face training, this delivery option is an easier way for experienced medical company representatives entering theatres to keep up to date with changes in the standards. The self-paced learning can be completed anywhere, anytime. The training includes audio complementing each slide, scenarios and quizzes, ensuring participants receive a full experience. Video footage of a routine social hand wash is also included as a refresher. This module is worth 2 CPD points for registered nurses.

To help decide the most suitable module for a staff member to complete, HR or Training/PD Coordinators are invited to view the document titled Questions for HR or Training/PD Coordinators to Determine Company Staff OTP Training Needs.

To learn more, please click here.

Transitioning to the 2016-2017 standards

To maintain approval of the training through ACORN, MTAA reviews and updates the two training modules every two years. This aligns with the release of the revised standards. As a result, MCRs must be re-accredited every two years in order to maintain a current ID card. For example, MCRs completing the 2016-2017 training program launched in August 2016 will have their MTAA ID card expire at the end of July 2018.

If you completed MTAA module 1.5 Introduction to Operating Theatre Protocols or 1.6 Operating Theatre Protocols Update between 1 August 2014 and 31 July 2016 you are eligible to complete our short OTP: Summary of Changes module by 30 November 2016. Registrations details will be emailed to you once this short self-paced online module is launched providing MTAA has your current company email details. To update your details, please log on to your My MTAA Account, click Profile and enter your changes.


To discuss any aspect of this program, please contact the Professional Development Manager by P: (+612) 9900 0650 or E: