Sally Sutherland-Fraser


Sally Sutherland-Fraser Perioperative Nurse Consultant and Founding Partner of Health Education & Learning Partnerships

RN, MEd, BEd (Adult Education), Certificate in Perioperative Nursing, Cert IV Training and Assessment, MACN, FACORN

With over thirty years’ clinical practice as a registered nurse, I’ve had a long, enjoyable and highly rewarding career. I’ve worked in paediatric wards, surgical and medical wards and aged-care settings. More recently, I’ve specialised in the operating room and perioperative environment, where I’ve practised as an anaesthetic and recovery nurse and circulating/instrument nurse.

In addition to my clinical background, I am an experienced and highly qualified educator holding a Master of Education, supported by a solid foundation in Adult Education, Training and Assessment. In my last role at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney I brought together these qualifications and skills as the Clinical Nurse Consultant for Perioperative Practice Development. Working closely with Area Directors and local DONs, nurse managers, educators and clinicians, I developed and facilitated a range of education programs across large networks of public and private hospitals. I have contributed to multidisciplinary state-wide working parties such as the Enrolled Nurse Perioperative Practice Program and the electronic Medical Record (eMR). I’ve also led practice development projects in areas as diverse as medication labelling and pressure injury prevention. In 2011, I received the St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation Excellence Award as ‘Emerging Clinical Researcher on St Vincent’s Campus’ for a study on perioperative nurses’ knowledge of pressure injury prevention. I have been an active member of professional associations, with executive roles in the NSW Operating Theatre Association (NSW OTA) and the national Board of the Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN). In 2010, I was honored to receive the national ACORN Excellence in Perioperative Nursing award and was admitted as a Fellow of ACORN in 2012.

This diverse career path continues to surprise me, as it was not the career I imagined when I was in high school. I recall with a wry smile my Mum’s enthusiasm and encouragement of me to “go to Paris and be a painter” (both of which I achieved though sadly, not at the same time, and certainly not as a career!). My Dad’s career advice was perhaps more practical and reflected his experience as a surf life-saver and one of the first crew members of the surf-rescue helicopter service in Sydney. He gained paramedic experience in the emergency department of Mona Vale District Hospital on Sydney’s northern beaches and it was here that I enjoyed three years’ training as a student nurse. Those training days with those mad fellow student nurses (making friends for life) provided me with a strong foundation in nursing practice and a love for clinical patient-care.

My nursing career has happily enabled me to travel and work in Sydney and the United Kingdom (almost Paris) and it seems that there are more similarities than differences in the way we practise nursing globally – people are apprehensive and most vulnerable when they are patients and, every day, nurses make a difference to their lives.

Now as an experienced clinician and consultant, I’m comfortable, capable and effective in a range of education settings and assessment practices. I am also an engaging and effective communicator, with a long history as a facilitator and mentor, conference speaker, writer and clinical researcher. It’s with this background and experience that I founded Health Education & Learning Partnerships with my mentor and friend Menna Davies in 2013, and I now practise as an independent education consultant.

If you think we might be able to work together to improve patient outcomes, clinical practice or develop your team, then please get in contact.

Find more information on my LinkedIn page and follow me on Twitter.