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Surgical Care Practitioner

Surgical Care PractitionerSurgical Care Practitioners are registered non-medical healthcare professionals who have extended the scope of their practice by completing an accredited training programme. They work as members of the surgical team and perform surgical interventions and pre-operative and post-operative care under the supervision of a senior surgeon. Learn more about the logistics of the role on our case study page

Did you know that Surgical Care Practitioners are now eligible to join the RCS as associate members? As an associate member, you will be able to access a range of valuable benefits and a 50% discount on membership during 2018. Find out more and join today.


Area of practice  

Pre-, peri- and post- operative environment, including theatre, wards and clinics, usually within a specific surgical specialty.

Overview of tasks and activities

  • Clinics - seeing specific pre-operative patients and listing them for surgical procedures
  • Pre-operative assessment processes including clinical examination and enhanced recovery education as directed by the surgical team
  • Arrangement of pre- and post-operative investigations as part of the MDT
  • Participation in the consent process in their areas of practice
  • Liaison with medical, theatre, ward and clerical staff on relevant issues including theatre lists to support coherent service provision
  • Participation in the WHO safe surgery checklist
  • Preparation of patients for surgery including venepuncture, male and female catheterisation, patient positioning and preparation
  • Surgical procedures as part of the MDT for the respective surgical specialty under the supervision and direction of the operating surgeon
  • Acting as first or second assistant as directed by the supervising surgeon
  • Facilitation of continuity of care
  •  Daily ward rounds, making assessments and formulating plans for post-perative care
  • Writing of operation notes and ward round note taking
  • Post-operative care, including wound assessment, initial treatment and identification of surgical problems and complications
  • Identification of acute deterioration of patients with knowledge of early warning scores
  • Provision of support to on-call and emergency services
  • Evaluation of care, including the discharge process and follow-up care arrangements
  • Facilitation of the training by supporting a training session or providing delegated care to a patient while the supervising surgeon is conducting a training session
  • Research, development, education and audit within the surgical department

Supervision and management

  • Clinical responsibility to the consultant surgeon
  • Day to day work under the direction of the operating surgeon and as a member of the extended surgical team
  • Line management as part of the surgical team
  • During the 2-year training, the SCP will be assigned a named clinical supervisor and mentor for the duration of the training programme

Autonomy and independent work

  • Pre-determined level of autonomy and supervision, agreed on a case by case basis with the responsible surgeon
  • Once the surgeon is satisfied the SCP works safely and competently within their role, they can arrange for proximal supervision (where the surgeon is not in theatre but their location is within the hospital, and can be easily contactable)

Eligibility for training

  • Registration as a healthcare professional (e.g. nurse, operating department practitioner, or psychotherapist)
  • 1-2 years of post-registration experience
  • Evidence of ability to study at master’s degree level
  • Aptitude for clinical and operative practice


  • Two-year programme at master’s level, accredited by the RCS, and comprising both a taught and a practical element
  • In the second year there is specialisation in a chosen surgical specialty
  • RCS BSS course completion is required

Professional accountability

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council, or Health and Care Professions Council, for their original, non-extended roles
  • SCPs should follow the RCS professional standards of ethical practice for  registered practitioners working in advanced surgical roles


Between 7 – 8a.

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