Operating Theatre Protocol Training Overview

Intelligent training solutions in healthcare

Visitors to the operating theatre who are not medically or clinically trained may unknowingly put the health and safety of patients and all operating theatre attendees at risk of infection, disease, injury or death.

Improved governance in the hospitals, education and training on operating theatre protocols and credentialing checks (proof of immunisation and criminal history checks) may improve infection rates and prevent injury or death.

Incidents within an operating theatre can lead to expensive litigation, brand and reputational damage for those involved.

IQ Health’s Operating Theatre Protocol Training Program has been designed to improve the competencies and skills of visitors in the operating theatre who have not undergone any clinical or medical training, including:

  1. medical company representatives
  2. allied health professionals
  3. medical, nursing and allied health students (Universities and Technical Colleges)
  4. work experience students and
  5. patient support personnel such as family members, medically trained support staff or police and prison officers


acorn logoIQ Health’s Operating Theatre Protocol Training is compliant with the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards and has been endorsed by the Australian College of Registered Nurses (ACORN).

All instructors are experienced perioperative nurses and hold a Certificate IV in Workplace Training & Assessment.


The Operating Theatre Protocol Training course will explore the role, function, purpose and responsibilities of non-medically or non-clinically trained visitors to the operating theatre. Participants will learn how to function safely in the operating theatre, infection control and aseptic techniques, vaccinations recommended, theatre etiquette, how to communicate, how to prepare and what to expect in the operating theatre, legal and ethical responsibilities and much more.

Theatre Protocol Training Topics

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Roles and responsibilities
    1. 2.1 Medical facilities
    2. 2.2 Employers and sponsors of operating theatre attendees
    3. 2.3 Operating theatre attendees
      1. 2.3.1 Surgeons and doctors
      2. 2.3.2 Nurses
      3. 2.3.3 Medical company representatives
      4. 2.3.4 Allied health professionals
      5. 2.3.5 Medical students
      6. 2.3.6 Work experience students
      7. 2.3.7 Patient-support personnel
    4. 2.4 Operating theatre etiquette
  3. 3. Fitness for work and health management
    1. 3.1 Drugs and alcohol
    2. 3.2 General wellbeing
    3. 3.3 Immunisation requirements
    4. 3.4 Vaccination or immunisation?
    5. 3.5 Pregnancy
  4. 4. Operating theatre “Golden Rules”
    1. 4.1 Operating theatre authorities
    2. 4.2 Sterile zone
    3. 4.3 Perform authorised work only
    4. 4.4 Safety/ Electrical testing of equipment
    5. 4.5 Physical contact with the patient
    6. 4.6 Drugs and alcohol
    7. 4.7 Mobile phones
    8. 4.8 Food and drink
  5. 5. New to the operating theatre
  6. 6. Needle-stick injuries
  7. 7. Responding to complications
  8. 8. Handling of fluids and sterilisation
    1. 8.1 Aseptic Technique
    2. 8.2 The sterile field
    3. 8.3 Identifying the sterile field
    4. 8.4 Only scrubbed personnel can function within a sterile field
    5. 8.5 Equipment and materials used within the sterile field
    6. 8.6 Removing equipment from the operating theatre environment
    7. 8.7 Moving within sterile and non-sterile fields
    8. 8.8 Policies and procedures for maintaining a sterile field
    9. 8.9 Operating theatre attire – clothing
    10. 8.10 Hand hygiene
  9. 9. Privacy Requirements
    1. 9.1 Patient consent
    2. 9.2 Recording devices in the operating theatre
  10. 10. Legal liability
  11. 11. Chronology of the operating theatre experience
  12. 12. Planning for Success
  13. 13. Risk assessment and risk management
  14. 14. Operating theatre protocol competency assessment

References and Appendices


Courses are provided in capital cities and selected regional centres across Australia.

Course Options

IQ Health offer half day and full day theatre protocol training depending on attendee. Course attendees will experience the practical application of attending a simulated or live operating theatre. Participants will practice putting on scrubs, aseptic hand-wash techniques, and moving within sterile and non-sterile zones.

Online Accreditation (assessment only)

IQ Health’s Online Operating Theatre Protocol Accreditation is available to individuals who have significant experience in operating theatres or have completed a comparable operating theatre protocol course. To attain accreditation, participants will be required to complete our online assessment and achieve a minimum 80% pass rate. If the participant passes the assessment, a full copy of our comprehensive course material will be provided. If the participant does not pass the assessment after two attempts we strongly recommend he/she complete IQ Health’s full day operating theatre protocol training course.


Participants who successfully complete the course and/or online assessment will be issued with a Photo ID which can be presented in Australian hospitals to evidence their operating theatre protocol knowledge, skills and competencies.


Training alone may not be sufficient to permit access to operating theatres within Australia. Many hospitals are now reviewing their requirements for ALL corporate visitors such as visiting doctors, agency nurses, medical company representatives and tradespeople. Criminal history checks, vaccination checks and employer liability insurance checks may be required before access to certain areas is permitted.

Read more about Accredicheck, IQ Health’s link between hospitals and their visitors.


Course Costs (Full Day - Medical Companies):
$700 + GST per attendee OR
$600 + GST per attendee for groups of five (5) or more^

Course Costs (Half Day - Students/ Junior Doctors):
$135 + GST per attendee

Online accreditation:
Online accreditation (assessment only): $250 + GST

^ Please contact us to discuss further discounts for larger groups.