British Columbia Institute of

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NSPO 7451 - Perioperative Theory 3 (with AORN Periop 101): The Nurse in the Circulating Role

Nursing Specialty Perioperative Part-time Studies Course

School of Health Sciences

BCIT is planning for a substantial return to on-campus activity for the fall 2021 term as informed by BC Public Health Officer guidelines. Refer to each course listing for details.

Course Details

This course builds on the concepts and frameworks presented in prerequisite courses. Learners focus on how perioperative nurses provide care in the circulating role for patients undergoing common, less complex surgeries and anesthesia. Students learn how circulating nurses assess and prepare patients and families for anesthesia and surgery. Participants will continue learning about the key concepts of caring, safety, aseptic technique, and surgical conscience. Learners will consider how these concepts are used to maintain a safe and supportive perioperative environment for patients and team members. Participants will build on nursing knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and disease processes to deepen their understanding of perioperative nursing in the circulating role. The course introduces theory that forms the basis for the development of circulating nurse skills in preparation for clinical learning. Clinical decision-making frameworks (Gillespie & Patterson, 2009) that guide practice are reviewed and applied to the circulating role. Learners will examine ways of developing collaborative relationships with patients, colleagues, instructors, and perioperative team members. Participants will also consider how to employ effective leadership strategies, including advocacy and effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills during the perioperative period. This course is part of the BCIT Perioperative/Periop 101: A Core Curriculum merged program for BC Health Authority sponsored perioperative nurses. Participants will need to successfully pass one AORN Periop 101 final exam to achieve the Periop 101 Certificate of Completion. Note: The Periop 101 exam is completed at the end of NSPO 7451 as exam contains both scrub and circulating nurse course content.


NSPO 7251



This course isn't currently offered through BCIT Part-time Studies. Please check back next term or subscribe to receive email updates.

Learning Outcomes

As licensed health care practitioners, learners will practice in accordance with professional standards of practice throughout the course. In this course, learners will have opportunities to use the processes of critical thinking, systematic inquiry, communication, collaboration, leadership, professionalism and clinical decision making. Upon successful completion of this course, learners should be able to:

  • Use relevant, current ORNAC Standards of Care to explain activities in the circulating role: admitting and assessing patients; monitoring patients; assisting with anesthesia induction and emergence; positioning; performing skin preps; setting up the sterile environment; counting; and processing specimens.
  • Use relevant knowledge of Periop 101: A Core Curriculum to inform novice entry-level circulating nurse activities: patient and worker safety, aseptic practice, equipment safety, patient care, and sterilization.
  • Use a practice framework in the circulating role to assess and admit patients of different ages with actual and potential health problems.
  • Identify how circulating nurses employ a patient-centered plan of care to anticipate and address physiological and emotional risks of anesthesia for patients.
  • Identify risks and hazards associated with the perioperative environment and equipment for patients and team members.
  • Carry out circulating nurse activities that minimize risks and hazards and promote patient and team safety.
  • Identify the potential emotional and physical impact of the perioperative environment on patients, families, and team members.
  • Apply communication techniques that promote effective perioperative team partnerships and collaboration.
  • Accurately complete the perioperative documentation required in the circulating role.
  • Critically analyze independent and collaborative activities of circulating nurses that facilitate safe and ethical patient care within the perioperative team.
  • Critically analyze how circulating nurses apply surgical conscience to promote patient safety and healing.
  • Identify how circulating nurses enact caring with patients undergoing surgery and their families.
  • Identify how circulating nurses advocate for patients and families.
  • Explain how the circulating nurses use ways of knowing the individual (case, patient and person) to care for patients.
  • Prepare and communicate a plan for patient-centered care in the circulating role, using reflective critical-thinking skills and a clinical decision-making framework.

Effective as of Fall 2021

Related Programs

NSPO 7451 is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Health Sciences

  1. Perioperative Nursing Specialty
    Part-time/Distance & Online Learning   Advanced Certificate
  2. Specialty Nursing (Perioperative)
    Part-time/Distance & Online Learning   Bachelor of Science in Nursing


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