Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing

Postgraduate coursework

Build on your existing clinical skills and play a lead role in your patients' surgical journey, providing care before, during and after surgery.

Key facts


2 years part-time

Note: this course is only available part-time


Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

Every year, 2.8 million hospitalisations in Australia result in surgical interventions.* Integral to these interventions are the perioperative nurses providing care and support in pre-operative, intraoperative and post-operative environments. The advanced specialist skills required for this pivotal role in a multidisciplinary perioperative team are in high demand, in one of the strongest growth areas of the health sector.^ Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing prepares you to meet that demand.

Ranked #16 in the world,# our School of Nursing and Midwifery is one of Australia’s largest and most established. You will be learning from the best with the School’s cutting-edge research recognised as well above world standard#. Our strong industry connections mean you will be guided by experts in critical care and perioperative nursing as you explore the current and emerging trends, concepts, knowledge and evidence that provides the policy and practice framework in which perioperative nursing takes place.

Are you ready to play a pivotal role in a multidisciplinary perioperative team?

If you want to take the next step in your nursing career, our Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing prepares you to practise effectively at an advanced practice level. As a graduate you will demonstrate ethical, safe, high-quality and expert clinical decision-making abilities within a multidisciplinary team, and psychomotor skills commensurate with specialised theoretical knowledge, evidence-based practice and person-centred care.

Deakin’s strong industry connections ensure a high level of collaboration and support during your clinical practice. This means that while you study you can immerse yourself in your speciality nursing practice area with one of our numerous metropolitan, rural and regional health partners across Australia.

This course enables you to:

  • critically assess and manage elective and emergency patients undergoing complex and specialty surgical procedures, including anaesthetic management
  • develop an advanced understanding of pharmacological therapies including anaesthetic agents, adjunct therapies and pain management therapies
  • perform patient assessment and monitoring of neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory and haemodynamic states
  • manage complex and special populations to identify risk and inform decisions that deliver safe, high-quality nursing care to promote optimal patient outcomes
  • play a pivotal role in the multidisciplinary team management of surgical and/or procedural patients across: infection prevention, surgical safety and environmental planning and preparation; surgical wound closure and management; and medico-legal requirements
  • demonstrate skills in advanced monitoring and postoperative anaesthesia care following complex and specialty surgery
  • apply the core principles of perioperative practice across a range of surgical specialities
  • develop greater decision-making autonomy, critical thinking and leadership skills, advanced clinical judgement, and professional behaviours required for safe patient care, effective teamwork, and career advancement.

Second year elective units allow you to pursue specific areas of interest aligned to your career goals. You can choose from complementary areas of health practice, or undertake studies preparing you for roles in education, leadership or management. You will also have the opportunity to select a unit from anywhere across the university, further expanding your skill set.

Our innovative online program delivers a rich, interactive and empowering learning experience that is designed for postgraduate nursing students. Live-streaming seminars and class discussions encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills. Australia’s top-rated tech support and access to our expert teaching staff means you can learn at your own pace, when and where it suits you, without compromising quality or support.

With job growth of 12.2% projected for registered nurses and 12.1% for nurse managers by 2028,^ there is an industry demand for nurses with sophisticated specialty skills. Perioperative nurses are in strong demand as they are an integral part of the multidisciplinary teams that support patients through their surgical experience.

* Australia’s hospitals at a glance 2022 – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Australian Government (2022).
^ Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections
# 2023 ShanghaiRankings Ranking of Academic Subjects.
** Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) 2018.

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Course information

Award granted
Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing

2024 course information

Deakin code
Postgraduate (Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma)
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 8

Course structure

To complete the Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing, students must attain 8 credit points, comprising of 6 core (compulsory) units and 2 credit points of electives, of which 1 must be from the course electives, the remaining can be from any level 7 elective from anywhere across the university, including stackable short courses (0.5cp microcredentials), subject to eligibility.

The core perioperative nursing specialisation units are completed in year 1 of the course and are semester-based delivery.

All commencing Faculty of Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work students are required to complete DAI001 Academic Integrity Module (0-credit-point compulsory unit) in their first trimester of study.

Both the theoretical and clinical components of the assessment for each unit must be passed in order to successfully gain an overall pass in this course. Compulsory clinical hurdles form part of the assessment of this course. Recognition of the importance of clinical assessments is calculated in the overall student workload.

Note: Failure of a compulsory clinical component in a unit will normally lead to exclusion.

Core units

Year 1 - Semester 1

  • Academic Integrity Module (0 credit points)
  • Core Principles of Perianaesthesia Nursing Care *
  • Core Principles of Intraoperative Nursing Care *
  • Year 1 - Semester 2

  • Principles of Complex Perianaesthesia Nursing Care *
  • Principles of Complex Intraoperative Nursing Care *
  • Year 2 - Trimester 1

  • Inquiry Into Specialty Nursing Practice
  • Plus 1 credit point of course elective

    Year 2 - Trimester 2

  • Advanced Concepts in Specialty Nursing Practice
  • Plus 1 credit point of any level 7 electives from anywhere in the university, including stackable short courses (0.5 cp microcredentials), subject to eligibility.

    * Speciality units are delivered on a semester basis in the first year of study

    Course Electives

  • Pathophysiology of Diabetes
  • Management of Diabetes
  • Contemporary Approaches to Diabetes Education
  • Diabetes in Social and Psychological Contexts
  • Ethical Dimensions in Nursing
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing
  • Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Patient Safety and Risk Management
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' History, Culture and Health
  • Biopsychosocialspiritual Mental Health Nursing Assessment
  • Person-Centred Approaches to Engagement in Mental Health Nursing
  • Facilitating Clinical Learning
  • Healthcare in Low Resource/Complex Environments
  • Healthcare Management of Vulnerable Populations
  • Research in Nursing and Midwifery
  • Quality and Safety in Medication Management
  • Therapeutic Medication Management
  • Recognising and Understanding Mental Illness
  • Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing
  • The Physical Health Needs of Persons with Mental Illness
  • Sustaining the Mental Health Nursing Workforce
  • Stackable short courses

    Mix and match Deakin stackable short courses (0.5 cp microcredentials) to earn up to 1 credit point of open electives, subject to eligibility. Any stacking must add up to a whole number to be used for credit. See more information on Deakin stackable short course options.

    Intakes by location

    This course commences in Semester 1 only. It is available across all nominated locations.

    Semester 1 - February

    • Start date: February
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Additional course information

    To undertake this course you must independently secure employment of at least 24 hours per week in a perioperative setting within a collaborating hospital in Australia.

    Clinical requirement
    Clinical practice across all perioperative speciality areas (intraoperative, perianaesthesia and post anaesthesia care unit) per semester.

    Core clinical certificate units in this course are semester based. Students are expected to attend synchronous seminars on Wednesdays throughout the semester.


    Course duration

    Course duration may be affected by delays in accessing or undertaking clinical requirements.


    As a student in an online course in the Faculty of Health you will be expected to spend 11-13 hours every week studying, interacting via CloudDeakin and completing assessment tasks for each unit in your course.

    Participation requirements

    Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. More information available at Disability support services.

    Entry requirements

    Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum academic and English language proficiency requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.

    Please note, there are limited places in this course and entry is competitive. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible. Applications for this course may close prior to the published closing date if all places are filled.

    Academic requirements

    To be considered for admission to this degree you will need to meet all the following criteria:

    • completion of a Bachelor of Nursing or equivalent
    • registration as a registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia with no conditions or restrictions
    • evidence of secure, ongoing employment of at least 24 hours per week in a collaborating hospital within Australia, working in a relevant speciality practice area with appropriate clinical supervision

    English language proficiency requirements

    To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

    Non-academic requirements

    As the specialisation pathways courses are offered collaboratively between the University and a range of partnership/collaborating hospitals, student selection into the course is a joint process. Students must independently apply for and seek permanent employment within a collaborating hospital to support and provide a sound clinical learning environment for the clinical program requirements of the course.

    Applicants are required to complete an Applicant Declaration form to be uploaded with their application.

    Admissions information

    Learn more about Deakin courses and how we compare to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning.

    Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn’t have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you are able to commit to your study.

    Recognition of prior learning

    If you have completed previous studies which you believe may reduce the number of units you have to complete at Deakin, indicate in the appropriate section on your application that you wish to be considered for Recognition of prior learning. You will need to provide a certified copy of your previous course details so your credit can be determined. If you are eligible, your offer letter will then contain information about your Recognition of prior learning.

    You can also refer to the Recognition of prior learning system which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing this course in the same year they started. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of prior learning.  One year full-time study load is typically represented by eight credit points of study. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value.

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together eight credit points of a typical combination of units for your course.

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the handbook.

    Learn more about tuition fees.

    Scholarship options

    A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

    Apply through Deakin

    Applications can be made directly to the University through StudyLink Connect - Deakin University's International Student Application Service. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply web page.

    Deakin International office or Deakin representative

    Fill out the application form and submit to a Deakin International office or take your application form to a Deakin representative for assistance

    Applicant declaration

    Applicants must complete the Applicant declaration as part of their application.

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage
    If you’re still having problems, please contact Deakin International for assistance.

    Entry pathways

    Upon successful completion of the Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing, students have the option to further their studies by articulating into the below course:

    H771 Master of Advanced Clinical Nursing

    Alternative exits


    Career outcomes

    With job growth of 12.2% projected for registered nurses and 12.1% for nurse managers by 2028,^ there is an industry demand for nurses with sophisticated specialty skills, particularly in regional and rural areas. Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing will allow you to meet that demand in a variety of roles across advanced practice, leadership and management, including:

    • anaesthetic nurse
    • circulating nurse
    • instrument nurse
    • nurse educator
    • perioperative nursing management positions
    • post anaesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse
    • pre-admission and day surgery nurses.

    ^ Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections

    Professional recognition

    Nurses employed under the Victorian public hospital award receive a higher duties allowance for postgraduate qualifications relevant to their practice.

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

    Demonstrate advanced clinical practice commensurate with perioperative nursing theoretical knowledge, evidence-based practice and person-centred care


    Demonstrate advanced communication skills to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe nursing care to patients in the perioperative care setting.

    Digital literacy

    Evaluate information using digital technologies to effectively disseminate relevant perioperative care information to patients and/or the multidisciplinary team.

    Critical thinking

    Identify, analyse and evaluate complex data from multiple sources to inform clinical decision making in the perioperative care setting.

    Problem solving

    Apply advanced nursing knowledge to complex problems in the perioperative care setting to optimise patient outcomes.


    Demonstrate professionalism, accountability, reflection, and personal autonomy as a perioperative nurse.


    Establish and maintain inclusive, collaborative professional relationships with all members of the multidisciplinary team.

    Global citizenship

    Demonstrate accountability for, and sound professional judgement in behaviours that uphold ethical principles of practice within diverse social, cultural, and environmental contexts.