New South Wales Operating Theatre Association

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New South Wales Operating Theatre Association
NSW OTA Logo - 03KL
Abbreviation NSWOTA, NSW OTA, OTA
Motto "Perioperative Nursing Excellence"
Formation 1957 (1957)
Type Professional Association
Purpose Professional
Headquarters Sydney
Region served

New South Wales,

Australian Capital Territory
Membership Perioperative nurses
Affiliations ACORN

The New South Wales Operating Theatre Association Incorporated otherwise known as the Operating Theatre Association Inc. (NSWOTA, NSW OTA or OTA) is an Australian State/Territory-based non-profit perioperative nursing professional association that fosters professionalism and professional development for more than 1000 perioperative registered nurses and enrolled nurses across New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It is one of the local associations that are part of the national body, the Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN).[1]


The NSW OTA mission is "leading perioperative nurses to achieve excellence in patient care". This mission led to the development of activities to advance perioperative nursing profession, which included:

  • Offering perioperative nurses professional educational and research opportunities
  • Creating awareness and sharing of perioperative nursing innovations, advancements, achievements, networking and best practices
  • Establishing the high quality standards of care for patients from perioperative nurses
  • Supporting research and promoting evidence-based perioperative nursing practice
  • Offering advice to government, industry and regulatory bodies[2]
  • Empowering perioperative nurses to engage in perioperative nursing issues



During 1956 three operating room supervisors - Miss Spense (from Royal North Shore Hospital), Miss Sturtridge (from the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children), and Sister Mary Garbriel (from St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney) - with the help of the Registered Nurse representative of Johnson & Johnson Pty. Ltd. realised the need for these supervisors to meet, share ideas, provide support for each other, and allow for progress in this field of nursing. Through their insight, the Theatre Supervisors' Group of NSW was inaugurated in July 1957, with Sister Mary Gabriel as the first President. Contact with metropolitan Sydney hospitals' room supervisors brought new members into the Theatre Supervisors' Group of NSW. The Theatre Supervisors' Group of NSW supplyied answers to many problems that were discussed at the time, with Saturday lectures held at St. Vincent's Hospital. This followed with the meetings being held at different metropolitan hospitals, where networking among members from different hospitals and conducting tours of their operating rooms.

Name Change, Membership and Expansion[edit]

It was decided that the Theatre Supervisors' Group of NSW was too restricted and so the name of the Group was altered to the New South Wales Operating Theatre Association in 1962. This allowed all registered nurses employed in operating suites to join and collaboratively work on issues. Membership gradually grew to encompass the Sydney, Newcastle, New South Wales & Wollongong metropolitan areas, the NSW country areas and the ACT. From the initial membership of three people in 1957, there was a rapid increase in membership due to the widening of the membership criteria and since that time, membership has increased: by 1985 to over 500 and in recent times to around 1200. Incorporation of the NSW OTA occurred in 1991.


OTA Zone map

By 1972, the executive committee recognised the need to create grouping of members by geographical location and so NSW & ACT were split into Zones.

Annual Conference[edit]

The NSW OTA holds an annual conference each year is an opportunity for education and networking for perioperative nurses, with the conference theme providing the direction for topics and presentations, with Keynote speakers, workshops, trade fair, and the conference dinner. It is currently the event that holds the Perioperative Nurse Excellence Awards and Life Membership. Recent conference themes have included:

  • 2004 – Intergalactic
  • 2005 – Up, up and away
  • 2006 – To be sure, to be sure, to be sure
  • 2007 – Golden Jubilee
  • 2008 – Burning Bright – Keep the Flame Alive
  • 2009 – Facing the Future Together
  • 2010 – Beyond the Mask
  • 2011 – Perioperative Nurses Taking the Reigns
  • 2012 – Out in Front[3]
  • 2013 – Perioperative Nursing Art or Science

External links[edit]


  1. ^ ACORN Membership
  2. ^ NSW Ministry of Health "Surgery News" Newsletter[]
  3. ^ Molnlycke Comment on conference education