Paediatric pre-assessment practitioner

Within the South West and Thames Valley & Wessex Operational Delivery Networks (ODN’s), there was recognised variation in the delivery of paediatric pre-assessment services, with several trusts identifying the need for an education package to enable the development of nurse-led paediatric pre-assessment clinics.

With the support of colleagues from across both regions, the ODNs have developed a competency-based Paediatric Pre-Assessment Practitioner course based on the APAGBI national guidance. The course  enables nurses to acquire the required knowledge, experience and skills to assess children and escalate concerns as required, prior to elective surgery.

The course is delivered at no cost, primarily due to the support of local specialist speakers. Course content is delivered by a faculty comprising paediatric anaesthetists, specialist nurses, legal advisors, safeguarding teams, and educators from across both regions (including DGH and tertiary hospitals).

Teaching is delivered virtually via MS TEAMS over 3 days.  Candidates have 6 months to complete relevant competencies and are supported and assessed by a local paediatric anaesthetist, using Benner’s ‘Novice to Expert’ scale to measure competence.

Course evaluation utilising the Kirkpatrick Model has demonstrated increased competence across all areas assessed and shows evidence of improvements being made to local service delivery.

By the end of 2023 as the course is being rolled out across the country, 85 nurses will have attended the course. The course aims to support the delivery of safe, person-centred care, ‘making every contact count’, as well as supporting theatre efficiency through reduced cancellations and ensuring smooth running of theatre lists.

For more information please contact:


Gael Rolls, Lead Nurse South West Surgery in Children ODN 

Charlotte Hammerton-Jackson, Lead Nurse Thames Valley & Wessex Surgery in Children ODN