The lived experiences of operating theatre scrub nurses learning technical scrub skills ‘I’m doing this right, aren’t I? Am I doing this right?’

Eleanor Radford, Theofanis Fotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Operating theatre scrub nurses (OTSNs) are not required to have undertaken a secondary or specialist post-registration theatre qualification to work in the operating theatre (OT) setting in the UK. From the systematic review there is only very limited literature or research in how technical scrub skills are acquired. This study explores the lived experiences of OTSNs learning technical scrub skills. The study employed the qualitative methodology of interpretative phenomenological analysis. Data was collected from six participating OTSNs using semi-structured interviews. Four superordinate themes emerged: How technical scrub skills are established, Gatekeepers, How the learner feels whilst learning and, Reflections of the experienced scrub nurse. The study found that the experiences of OTSNs learning technical scrub skills are varied and a variety of teaching and learning methods are utilised. These experiences were influenced by the team, mentor and surgeon within the OT environment. Lived experiences were also influenced by organisational structure and service pressures within the NHS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Perioperative Practice
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018



  • Technical scrub skills
  • Perioperative
  • Lived experiences

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