Perioperative Nurse Surgical Assistant (PNSA)

Advance your knowledge and skills in the field of perioperative nursing practice.

This course is the only specialised course of study in Australia that prepares perioperative Registered Nurses to undertake advanced nursing practice skills in surgical assisting and collaborative patient care in pre-operative and postoperative care of the surgical patient population.

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LocationOnline and clinical mentorship with a Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) surgeon
Date/sPNSA A subjectSemester 1 (4 March - 2 June 2024)
PNSA B subjectSemester 2 (29 July - 27 October 2024)
Registrations closeEarly Bird11:55 pm Sunday 2 February 2024
Standard11:55 pm Sunday 18 February 2024
Duration 12 weeks per subject
Prerequisite/sCurrent registration with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), Division 1 Registered Nurse skills and knowledge, and a Master of Nursing or similar, subject to approval by Course Coordinator. See below for extra requirements.
Certification116 hours (58 per subject) of Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
FeesEarly Bird $2,000.00 ($1,000.00 per subject) GST exempt
Standard $2,200.00 ($1,100.00 per subject) GST exempt

In undertaking studies in PNSA the student embarks on an advanced practice journey toward practicing as a Perioperative Nurse Surgeons Assistant PNSA. The student PNSA undertakes this Advanced Clinical Practice CPD course in the specialist area of Perioperative Nurse Surgical Assistant (PNSA), to develop their cognitive and technical skills to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the underlying principles and theoretical concepts in the role of surgical assistance.

During both subjects, all students engage in robust online discussion via blog postings with fellow students and the Course Coordinator. The student is required to develop a Clinical Practice Log and meet all aspects of credentialing and assessment requirements under the supervision of their Surgeon mentor/s.

To undertake the course, you need to engage a surgeon Mentor and supervisor for all intraoperative practice. Your mentor is also required to sign off clinical competencies – a mentor guide and consent form are available on the online registration page.

Course content

The course is based on the following:

  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Communication
  • Health Advocacy
  • Judgement and clinical decision making
  • Management and leadership
  • Nursing Expertise
  • Professionalism and ethics
  • Scholarship and teaching
  • Technical expertise


Semester 1 (PNSA A)

  • Case study
  • Blog postings
  • Written assessment

Semester 2 (PNSA B)

  • Written assessment
  • Blog postings
  • Written assessment or the development of a "YouTube" video
  • Clinical Evidence Log commenced in Semester 1 (PNSA A) and continued in Semester 2 (PNSA B)
  • Competency assessments
  • Clinical placement with Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) Surgeon Mentor

Extra requirements

  1. Students must be aware that they are required to ensure they meet all requirements of the hospitals or facilities they work with their surgeon/s and check all facility requirements and student agreements or other legal requirements that are required to practice.
  2. Broadband internet access and an active email address that can be accessed at home during study periods.
  3. Students must have basic computer literacy skills (e.g. Word or other word processing software)

Further information

Contact La Trobe Executive and Professional Education:


T: 1300 135 045


This program is subject to minimum enrolment numbers. A refund will be provided if the program is cancelled.