NURSPRAC 707 : Registered Nurse First Surgical Assist

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester One (1213) (30 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Draws on evidence from biomedical and social science research to equip nurses for the care and treatment of surgical patients. Students will be expected to integrate evidence from a range of sources and apply this to the practice of RNFSA nursing.

Course Overview

Advanced nursing practice is the ability to apply the latest evidence to nursing practice and knowledge in order to contribute to advances in specialist nursing areas. Advanced nursing practice roles have continued to develop over recent years to accommodate the increasing complexity of the healthcare needs of the population. Preparation of nurses for advanced speciality roles has, therefore, become a priority for the profession, the Nursing Council of New Zealand – as the statutory body – and healthcare providers. This course draws on evidence from biomedical and social science research to equip registered nurses with scientific concepts and the knowledge and skills for the role of Registered Nurse First Surgical Assistant (RNFSA) within operating theatre.

Entry Criteria for NURSPRAC 707
  • Approval from unit nurse manager for support in completion of NURSPRAC 707 (Semester 1) and NURSPRAC 724 (Semester 2).
  • Identified surgeon mentor to supervise the student in practice .
  • A registered nurse employed within the perioperative environment who is able to complete 120 hours of clinical work for the duration of the semester, in the role of the RNFSA (see definition provided below).
  • A learning agreement signed by the student, employer, surgeon mentor, academic coordinator, and clinical coordinator.

The RNFSA is a perioperative nurse who:
  1. Works in collaboration with the surgeon and other health care team members to achieve optimal patient outcomes;.
  2. Has acquired the necessary knowledge, judgement and skills specific to the expanded role of the RNFSA clinical practice.
  3. Intraoperatively, practices under the direction of the surgeon.
  4. Does not concurrently function as a scrub nurse (AORN 2013).
Learning Agreement
The purpose of the Learning Agreement is to describe the overall arrangement between all parties (student, employer, surgeon mentor, academic coordinator, and clinical coordinator) with regard to clinical and academic support (co‐operative learning approach) for both NURSPRAC 707 and NURSPRAC 724 – Registered Nurse First Surgical Assist Programme (60points) which can complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Science Advanced Nursing and the Masters of Nursing programme.

Course Requirements

Restriction: NURSING 730

Course Contacts

Course Administrator Matthew Baker E: 
Course Coordinator Yvonne Morgan E:

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Nursing

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply an understanding of scientific concepts and disease processes that are commonly treated with surgery. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3)
  2. Apply an understanding of the overall care of clients undergoing surgery. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3)
  3. Demonstrate competency in specified intraoperative clinical skills and accountability appropriate to the ‘registered nurse first surgical assist’ role. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3)
  4. Demonstrate competency in the use and management of intraoperative technology. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3)
  5. Analyse the impact of illness, surgery and health care experience on the client/family. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3)
  6. Evaluate the ethical and legal parameters of their nursing practice. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3)
  7. Interpret the results of diagnostic tests relevant to clients undergoing surgery. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3)
  8. Apply knowledge of caring, ethics, and advocacy in the operating room environment (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1 and 2.2)
  9. Discuss the ethico‐legal social, cultural, economic and political factors relating to the role of RNFSA. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments - Clinical Practice Review 30% Individual Coursework
Assignments - Verbal Presentation 25% Individual Coursework
Assignments - Long Answer Questions 35% Individual Coursework
Practical - Clinical Skills Log Book and Log of Clinical Hours 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Assignments - Clinical Practice Review
Assignments - Verbal Presentation
Assignments - Long Answer Questions
Practical - Clinical Skills Log Book and Log of Clinical Hours

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 48 hours of lectures, which will include tutorials, small group work and simulation, 32 hours of reading and thinking about the content, 100 hours of work on assignments and 120 hours for clinical skill development.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs/tutorials/clinics to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars/labs will not be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard block delivery.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Other Information

The clinical practice experience will be within the nurse’s current employment setting under the direct supervision of a nominated surgeon. The nominated surgeon will support the nurse to put into practice what they have learned in class and in simulated settings, observe their surgical assistance practice and verify the competencies.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.