Complexities of the Australian perioperative nurse entrepreneur

Toni Hains, Catherine Turner, Haakan Strand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This paper articulates a need for the nurse entrepreneur working as a surgical assistant. Negatively impacting on the role are the complex factors of:

• lack of professional support from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia;

• lack of a process for remuneration through the Medical Benefits Schedule; and a

• lack of guidance to navigate the bureaucratic system. Setting Australian healthcare system.

Subjects: Clinicians who are a registered nurse or nurse practitioner surgical assistant in the Australian healthcare system private sector.

Primary Arguments:

• A need exists for the perioperative nurse entrepreneur working in the private sector for specialty surgical assisting skills; adding a dimension of cost saving; and enhancing patient safety.

• The same mechanism for remuneration to medical practitioners, as surgical assistants, via the Medical Benefits Schedule is not available to nurse surgical assistants undertaking the same role. A contributor to this is the lack of support by the Nursing Midwifery Board of Australia.

• Lack of remuneration through Medicare exposes the patient to out of pocket expenses.

Conclusion: Absence of recognition of nurses (including Nurse Practitioners) as surgical assistants by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is not conducive to recognition of these roles by other government entities such as Medicare. Specialty advanced practice roles like that of the nurse surgical assistant enhance patient safety. While support for these specialty roles from the medical profession is applauded, it is an indictment on the peak Australian regulatory body for the nursing profession that support for the nurse surgical assistant including the nurse practitioner surgical assistant is not yet evident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


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