Assist with preparation of clients for operative procedures

This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to provide assistance in the preparation and care of the client in the operating department prior to operative and anaesthetic procedures


Work is performed within a defined range of functions and known routines and procedures, and in consultation with the anaesthetist and the operating room team. The work requires a range of well developed skills where some discretion and judgment is required, and individuals take responsibility for the quality of their outputs

All activities are carried out in accordance with organisation policies, procedures and infection control guidelines and under the direction of operating room health professionals


Pre-requisite unit

This unit must be assessed after successful achievement of pre-requisite:

HLTAP401B Confirm physical health status

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare client in accordance with organisation policy and procedure

1.1 Use personal protective equipment correctly

1.2 Attach safely and securely to appropriate sites equipment and consumables

1.3 Prepare clients as required

1.4 Safely detach equipment when no longer required with minimum risk of damage to client, staff or equipment

1.5 Safely store equipment in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations, or prepare ready for re-use

1.6 Follow established procedures if equipment is found to be faulty

2. Assist with client transfer

2.1 Identify correct operating table and table orientation before client is transferred

2.2 Inform relevant personnel of actions to be performed

2.3 Detach equipment not required

2.4 Safely and correctly adjust equipment attached to client during transfer

2.5 Maintain a safe working area and clear passage at all times and follow correct manual handling procedures

2.6 Minimise client discomfort

2.7 Re-connect and position equipment once transfer is completed

2.8 Maintain client's dignity before, during and after transfer

3. Position clients for operative procedure

3.1 Inform client of positioning procedure, reassure and seek co-operation as required

3.2 Ensure relevant equipment is available and correctly positioned

3.3 Take into account individual client needs and confirm with relevant personnel

3.4 Protect client from injury during positioning procedures

3.5 Follow correct manual handling procedures and seek assistance if required

3.6 Safely position client to meet the requirements of the anaesthetist and surgeon and the clients condition

3.7 Seek confirmation of correct position from anaesthetist and surgeon

3.8 Hold client in correct position as required by anaesthetist and surgeon

3.9 Maintain client's dignity

Required Skills

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

Anatomy and physiology relevant to safe client handling (e.g. transfers, positioning)

Functions of relevant equipment

Infection control procedures

Medical terms used in the operating room relevant to the worker's role

Medico-legal implications of technician's role and work procedures

Occupational health and safety procedures

Range of positions required for operative procedures as per organisation policy and surgeon preference

Risks and precautions in relation to anaesthetic procedures relevant to the theatre technician's role

Risks and precautions in relation to client positioning

Use of equipment, aids and attachments for client positioning

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

Demonstrate client transfer techniques

Follow organisation policy and procedures for client confidentiality and privacy

Use client positioning techniques and identify hazards

Use correct procedures for attachment and detachment of relevant equipment from clients in the operating room

Use manual handling procedures

Work as part of a team and follow directions from operating room health professionals

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

Communicate with health professionals

Deal with difficult co-workers and conflict

Maintain the client's dignity and privacy

Maintain work practices which address the comfort and dignity needs of clients

Solve problems including the ability to use available resources

Take into account opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues

Undertake and complete basic arithmetic calculations

Undertake preparation of clients for application of relevant equipment

Use oral communication skills as required to fulfil job roles in a safe manner and as specified by the organisation, including skills in:

asking questions

providing clear information

listening to and understanding workplace instructions

clarifying workplace instructions when necessary

literacy in English

Use reading and writing skills as required to fulfil job roles in a safe manner and as specified by organisation at a level of skill that includes the ability to understand symbols used in OHS signs, reading workplace safety pamphlets or procedure manuals, and reading labels

Work cooperatively in a team environment

Work with others and display empathy with client and relatives

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit:

The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills

Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of situations relevant to the workplace

Where, for reasons of safety, space, or access to equipment and resources, assessment takes place away from the workplace, the assessment environment should represent workplace conditions as closely as possible

Context of and specific resources for assessment:

Access to appropriate workplace where assessment can take place and relevant organisation policy, guidelines, procedures and protocols

Simulation of realistic workplace setting for assessment

Method of assessment

Observation of work activities when assisting with preparation of clients for operative procedures

Observation of simulation and/or role play when assisting with preparation of clients for operative procedures

Discussion of physical and/or behavioural contingency scenarios involving duty of care

Authenticated transcripts of relevant education/training courses/

Recognition of relevant life/work experience

Written assignments/projects or questioning should be used to assess knowledge

Authenticated reports of experience assisting with preparation of clients for operative procedures (Documentation associated with performance reviews, supervisor/co-ordinator evaluations of work performance)

Training records associated with occupational health and safety training, orientation/induction training, safe manual handing, universal infection control procedures

Case study and scenario as a basis for discussion of issues and strategies to contribute to best practice

Access and equity considerations:

All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work

All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Related units:

This unit can be assessed independently, however holistic assessment practice with other health services units of competency is encouraged

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Personal protective equipment may include:




Protective eyewear


Lead Gown

Clients may include:






Pregnant women

Impaired clients

Traumatised clients

Unconscious clients

Infectious clients

Equipment and consumables may include:

Warming equipment

Tourniquets and exsanguinators

Operating table and attachments

Anti-embolus equipment

Electro-surgical unit

Gel pads



Transfer devices




IV lines

Absorbent under pads

Diathermy plates


ECG dots

Skin preparation procedures may include:


Removal of dressings

Removal of plaster

Removal of clothing

Relevant personnel may include:

Registered nurses

Enrolled nurses



Other medical practitioners


Other operating theatre staff

Client transfer may include:

Transfer of client on beds or trolleys

Transfer of client from bed or trolley to operating table

Use of wheelchair

Correct use of transfer devices

Operative procedure may include:

General, regional and local anaesthetic

Interventional radiology

General surgery


Ear, nose and throat







Oral, dental and maxillofacial



Plastics and reconstructive

Trauma/emergency surgery

Procedures for protection of clients may include:

Confirmation with relevant personnel as to correct position and specific client risks

Use of correct and safe positioning techniques

Use of padding and supports to prevent necrosis and nerve damage

Smooth movements

Careful movement of joints

Avoidance of sudden movements

Avoidance of abnormal body positions

Locking wheel brakes

Maintenance of protection of heat loss

Client positions may include:

Supine (Trendelenburg/reverse Trendelenburg, lithotomy, beach chair/sitting)

Prone (knee/elbow, with laminectomy rest or spinal table, jack knife)

Lateral (park bench, kidney positioning)

Lithotomy (use of stirrups, Allen's Boots, knee crutches, lithotomy poles, Lloyd Davis)


Not Applicable

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Licensing Information

Not Applicable