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Perioperative Nursing Program for Registered Nurses

The Perioperative Nursing Program (PONP-RN) prepares Registered Nurses for professional practice in the operating room. This performance-based certification program supports Registered Nurses to advance their clinical judgment, critical thinking, and clinical leadership in the perioperative setting. This competency-based program is offered in two formats, a hybrid or part-time study option. Each stream utilizes a variety of learning strategies that provide flexibility to your specific learning needs.

The program uses a conceptual learning approach in developing both the scrub and circulating roles for the perioperative registered nurse. The program has been designed with five comprehensive units which organize knowledge and skills into concepts that are illustrated using real-life perioperative situations. Learners study a concept, then actively apply the concept to a surgical scenario. Each concept is then integrated with others so, by the end of the program, graduates can apply all concepts to a variety of surgical experiences. This is an active, learner-centered approach that fosters critical thinking and a deeper understanding of clinical knowledge by building on previous knowledge. In turn, learners are better prepared to meet the dynamic and complex needs of patients in the perioperative setting.

Learners benefit from online and/or classroom discussions, in addition to skills labs where newly acquired knowledge is practiced using simulation. Knowledge is assessed through examinations, online discussions, and assignments. Skills are practiced and assessed in the lab setting, and/or perioperative clinical setting. Depending on the study option, the clinical components may be integrated throughout the program or be completed in blocks at designated times in an operating room in Nova Scotia. Learners are paired with a designated preceptor who will supervise the clinical learning experience under the direction of PONP faculty. At the completion of the program, you will be able to provide safe, effective, and compassionate care to patients and families at the advanced beginner level.

Note: If you are a Registered Nurse with existing knowledge, skills, and/or experience fundamental to perioperative nursing, you may qualify to receive credit towards program requirements. Credit must be requested before the start of the program.

Part-time PONP-RN:

August 23, 2021 – April 22, 2022; In session.

January 17, 2022 – September 6, 2022; Registration deadline December 6, 2021.

  • This study option is designed for RNs who will be working on their home nursing unit; or are currently employed or will be hired into the perioperative setting prior to, or during the program.
  • Requires employer support to ensure learner success that includes time to participate in skill and simulation labs, exam writing, clinical, etc.

Hybrid PONP-RN:

February 14, 2022 - June 7, 2022; Registration deadline January 7, 2022.

  • This program is designed for RNs who have applied to an expression of interest (EOI), job posting, or been selected by your employer.
  • This program option starts with full-time study then transitions into part-time study. The program is aligned with a transition to practice approach that will support the nurse in transferring program competencies into his/her perioperative practice where they will be employed.

Program dates may be subject to change. If you miss the deadline date, or if you require additional information, please contact us at rnpdc@nshealth.ca

Please note: Prior to registering for the perioperative nursing program, you must receive approval from an OR manager within the province of Nova Scotia to confirm a clinical seat and sponsorship for the program.

General Program Information and Clinical Placement Requirements

  • Independent study time varies by study option - range is 7.5-15 hours per week (depending on learning style, previous learning in the specialty area, and previous experience with distance education)
  • Five days on-site skills lab intensive session held in Halifax for Part-time Program
  • Every effort is made to provide required clinical learning experiences at the site closest to the learner’s home in Nova Scotia; however, traveling might be required
  • Preceptors supervise the clinical learning experiences under the guidance of PONP faculty
  • PONP faculty strive to create a stimulating safe learning environment to ensure learner success.

Clinical Placements Requirements:

  • An active-practicing RN license with the Nova Scotia College of Nursing (NSCN)
  • Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search may be required before clinical placement
  • Proof of up-to-date immunizations and current BLS(c) may be required before clinical placement. If your BLS (c) is going to expire during the program, faculty recommends you recertify PRIOR to entering the program.

Contact Information

Program Costs

Academic Fees (see payment options):

  • Course materials: $200.00
  • Tuition: $400.00

Additional Expenses:

  • Textbooks (approx): $305.00
    (available at the Dalhousie University Bookstore or online from bookstores such as Amazon.ca)