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Int J Nurs Pract. 2016 Dec;22(6):546-555. doi: 10.1111/ijn.12462. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

Practice audit of the role of the Non-medical surgical assistant in Australia, an online survey.

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School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Qld. 4072.


The term Non-Medical Surgical Assistant (NMSA) encompasses all roles where healthcare clinicians without a medical degree provide clinical services during the perioperative cycle. The role of NMSA is gaining momentum within Australia. It is timely to ascertain who is preforming the role and quantify the practice setting and scope of practice to enable a nationally recognised platform for role evolution. For two months in 2015 a NMSA Practice Audit was available online. Sampling was initially of a convenience modality. A total of 83 clinicians responded. The majority of NMSAs were experienced RNs [>11yrs]; held post-graduate qualifications [80%], practiced predominantly in metropolitan areas [65%] and had been performing the role for 8 years or less. The specialty with the highest uptake of the NMSAs is orthopaedic surgery. This paper provides an overview of NMSAs practicing in Australia and provides cost effective evidence of the need for this service in Australian healthcare.


first surgical assistant; non-medical surgical assistant; perioperative; perioperative nurse surgeon's assistant; registered nurse

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