Task transfer: A survey of Australian surgeons on the role of the non-medical surgical assistant

Toni Hains, Catherine Turner, Haakan Strand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A non-medical surgical assistant is a clinician who provides perioperative care in the role of surgical assistant but does not possess a medical degree. This role has been practiced in Australia for more than 20 years. 

Aim: This survey investigates Australian surgeons' attitudes and current practice regarding the role of the non-medical surgical assistant. 

Design/method: Distribution of the survey was online in December 2015 by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). Data analysis was descriptive using online survey methodology and convenience sampling. 

Results: In the private sector in Australia 105 respondents (35 per cent) use a non-medical surgical assistant. In the private sector in Australia, 188 respondents (64 per cent) were 'very supportive' or 'supportive to some degree' of the role, with 60 (20 per cent) 'undecided' and 48 (16 per cent) 'not supportive'. 

Conclusion: The results illustrate there is support in the Australian surgical community for the role. The majority of respondents advocated contribution to governance of the role and curricula oversight by the RACS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Perioperative Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


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