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Scrub and Scout Nurse

Resource Type: Nursing Lecture
Presenter: Peta Crompton
Listening Time: 23 Mins
Date Added: 09/07/2013
Date Recorded: 09/05/2013
Date Reviewed:
Event: Day Surgery and Perioperative Nursing
Location: Melbourne, Australia

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Two integral roles in the intra-operative and day surgery environments are the scrub nurse and scout nurse. This lecture describes these roles in depths, and examines each of their respective responsibilities. 

The challenges of these roles are also exemplified in a review of landmark court cases that have involved scrub and scout nurses, and other staff in the operating theatre. For those not familiar with the roles, this lecture will provide an excellent introduction.

The speaker begins by defining the role and responsibilities of the scrub and scout nurse positions, and who can hold such positions. ACORN standards are invoked, and issues of duty of care are explained. 

Duty of care is particularly linked to the 'count' and errors related to the count itself and documentation are discussed throughout the lecture. The competencies of the roles are explained, and the expectations that knowledge of aseptic technique be exemplary. 

The personality type of the nurse best suited for these positions is suggested, and how they must be prepared to advocate on the patients behalf at all times. 

Good knowledge of anatomy and physiology is taken to be mandatory, as is an understanding of the AHPRA Code of Conduct and Code of ethics for Nurses in Australia, which provide excellent grounding for understanding the ethicolegal obligations of the positions. 

This leads to an extended legal discussion regarding recent and historical court cases that have involved nurses undertaking the roles of scrub and scout nurse, and the associated issues of negligence, professional indemnity insurance and vicarious liability are included in the content. 

Of particular interest to all nurses will be the discussion on Elliott v Bickerstaff.

Topics covered

  • Overview of the role and scope of the roles
  • Duty of care for surgical counts
  • Landmark legal cases: Elliott v Bickerstaff (1999)
  • ACORN standards
  • Infection control issues
  • Who is required to advocate for the patient?

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Presenter Biographies

Peta Crompton is a clinical nurse in the post anaesthetic recovery unit (PACU) of a large tertiary teaching hospital in Brisbane. Peta has also worked as a clinical lecturer for a major university in Queensland in the area of nursing and midwifery for five years, and has also worked extensively in all areas of the perioperative department for much of her nursing career. Peta’s passion is teaching and mentoring staff and students which she has done both in Australia and overseas (Cambodia and the UK).

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