Operating theatre nurse specialist competence to ensure patient safety in the operating theatre: A discursive paper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: To discuss specialist operating theatre nurses’ competence in relation to the general six core competencies and patient safety. Design: A discursive analysis of legal statutes and scientific articles. Methods: Swedish legal statutes and an overview of scientific articles on operating theatre nursing were deductively analysed and classified into healthcare providers’ general six core competencies. Results: All healthcare professionals should possess the general core competencies, regardless of their discipline. The specific content within these competencies differs between disciplines. The specialized operating theatre nurse is the only healthcare professional having the competence to be responsible for asepsis, instrumentation, infection and complication, control and management of biological specimens during the surgical procedure. Besides operating theatre nurses, no other healthcare profession has the formal education, competence or skills to perform operating theatre nursing care in the theatre during the surgical procedure. Operating theatre nurse competence is therefore indispensable to ensure patient safety during surgery.


  • Ann Christin von Vogelsang
  • Christine Leo Swenne
  • Birgitta Åkesdotter Gustafsson
  • Karin Falk Brynhildsen
External organisations
  • Karolinska University Hospital
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Uppsala University
  • Örebro University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing


  • evidence-based practice, informatics, interdisciplinary health team, operating room nursing, patient safety, patient-centred care, quality improvement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-502
Number of pages8
JournalNursing Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch