Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 1 year

UK fee

£2,520 (2022/23)

International fee

£2,520 (2022/23)

Course level



University Advanced Diploma

Start date




Online course description

Although qualified nurses can learn scrub and circulating skills when they get a job post registration in theatres, there are few post-registration courses available where they can gain an academic qualification in this area.

Nurses, along with other perioperative professionals, form a vital part of the perioperative multidisciplinary team working in the perioperative environment. They are not just there to ‘hand over’ instruments or to act as ‘runners’. They help to keep patients safe; acting as advocates for patients and working as valuable members of the perioperative team in what can sometimes be a stressful, acute environment.

This University Advanced Diploma in Scrub and Circulating Practice is the first course in the UK to offer an online programme for nurses who want to gain academic recognition for their skills and knowledge. This innovative approach benefits both staff working in perioperative environments and employers managing acute care settings.

The course is part-time across one year and is completely online which enables you to gain relevant training in your own place of work. There is no need for off-site study or travelling to a university campus. The course essentially comes to you, either in your workplace or at home.

An online course grounded in clinical practice

Clinical practice is central to this course and is embedded throughout. In addition to academic work, you will have the opportunity to gain competence in key specialist areas and will be provided with a set of online competencies to work through across a year, which mirror the CODP 2018 curriculum and the Perioperative Care Collaboration’s (PCC) Core Curriculum for Perioperative Nursing 2017 as they relate to surgical skills and practice in theatres.

During this course, you will build on the knowledge gained from your initial training and post-basic experience by developing key clinical skills that are of value in the perioperative environment. The course is designed to produce safe, reflective and resilient scrub and circulating nurses.

Students must be employed in a UK based perioperative environment for the duration of the course. To join the course, you will require your employer’s full support as you will need to spend time in different surgical specialities within your organisation so that you can develop your core and specialist skills.

In addition, your employer must allocate you with a suitably qualified and knowledgeable mentor, not necessarily another nurse, to provide essential mentorship for your placements. Your employer will ultimately be responsible for ensuring you gain enough experience in the relevant clinical environments for you to meet the required course competencies. Support and advice regarding placements will be available from the Academic team.

What you will study

By completing this course, you will:

For the University Advanced Diploma you will study three core 20-credit, level 6 modules.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

We recognise the demanding nature of work in perioperative environments. With this in mind, we have designed this part-time, online course to enable you to fit your studies in and around your professional practice and personal commitments.

The taught elements of the course will be delivered entirely online. Live perioperative sessions delivered virtually, are designed, led and facilitated by the academic team who are expert practitioners in Operating Department Practice and in education and training. 

Interactive activities and case-studies will be available for you to work through. These have design input from actual service users and are contextualised within the ‘real-world’ of perioperative practice.

You will access your course materials through the virtual learning environment where you will also be able to engage in discussion and debate via the digital discussion board, which create a stimulating learning and teaching environment. The online student portal is your gateway to our cloud campus including your digital learning space and your tutors, student support services, the library, your student email account, course materials, important announcements and more.

You will also have access to tutorial support through scheduled ‘live’ sessions, however recordings will be available if you are unable to attend.

If it is a while since you last studied, an additional online study skills resource will be available to supplement your studies and help you build your ability to study at level 6.

During your studies, you will be directed to consider the application of theoretical knowledge to your own role and workplace and subsequently share this information with your peers. Within the workplace, you will be supported by a mentor, who will be identified by your employer. Your mentor will be a registered professional, with the appropriate qualifications and clinical expertise to effectively support you during your placements. 

The course will enable you to gain analytical, problem solving, practical and clinical skills that will add real value within your role and your workplace.

Personal development planning

Personal development planning (PDP) is built into the course allowing you to capture, build and reflect upon your personal development throughout your studies.

Each online module contains a Personal Development Planning section. In particular, there is a resource entitled ‘Personal Development Planning in the Digital Age’ which will support you in your development and enable you to effectively communicate the evidence you have to your employers. The resource introduces a range of graduate skills which you can also develop throughout your studies in each module, as well as digital literacy skills which will be invaluable in any future studies and careers.

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

All coursework assessments will be related to the perioperative environment whereby you will be expected to draw on your experience and knowledge of your practice environment to inform your academic work.

Formative assessment opportunities will take place early in each module such as feedback on draft course work or feedback on personal and group learning activities. 

Summative assessments such as essays and reflective journals, presentations and literature reviews will be used to demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes of the course.

Your work placement experience will form a key part of your assessment with specific practice related competencies captured within an e-portfolio/Practical Assessment Document. Qualified registered mentors will assess you in the workplace, whilst additional support and review is provided by your academic tutor.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Entry requirements

To successfully undertake this course, you will need to be a registered nurse employed in a UK based perioperative environment for the duration of the course. The amount of time that you spend in each surgical speciality will be decided by your employer and can be discussed with the Academic team. The time spent must be adequate to enable you to achieve both the academic and practical aspects of this course.

Potential applicants will be either self-identified or identified by employers and will subsequently also need to apply to the university. As an employee, you will need permission, support and a written reference from your manager to apply for this course. You will be required to upload evidence to this effect when you are applying. Your employer is also responsible for ensuring that adequate DBS checks have been carried out.

To apply, you will need to meet the following criteria:

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

If you are unable to take an English Language Test locally, you may wish to consider our Derby English Language Test (DELT), which is an online test in two parts: reading and writing, and listening and speaking. Take a look at our Derby English Language test (DELT) page for full course details, online exam dates and how to book.

Fees and funding

2022/23 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2022 and August 2023.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 3 £2,520

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain: 

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


This University Advanced Diploma in Scrub and Circulating Practice qualification will enable registered nurses to gain the necessary qualification and competence to work as a scrub and circulating nurse in an acute care setting.

During your studies, you will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities, projects and assessments. Each of these are designed to contribute towards an enhancement of your employability, and you are able to use these to build a portfolio of work which could be demonstrated to any employer.

The extra knowledge and skills gained will make you more adaptable within your perioperative area and contribute to increased productivity for the team.

This course is ideal if you are looking for career progression, and to demonstrate a critical, evidence-based approach to scrub and circulating practice.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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