To assist nursing students, Operating Theatre Instrument Manual’s had photographs of instrument trays and corresponding lists of equipment used.
One of the responsibilities of a nursing theatre sister was to set up an instrument tray with the correct equipment for an operation.
Each type of operation required its own particular instruments, laid out in a particular order. For example, a Laparotomy set up would be different to a ENT Bronchoscopy layout.
Up until 1990, The Queen Elizabeth and Royal Adelaide Hospitals had hospital-based nursing courses, where student nurses learnt operating theatre techniques and requirements. To assist nursing students, operating theatre instrument manuals were made up with photographs and equipment lists of instrument trays.
The instrument manual below has an index for 45 different types of set-ups for theatre operations. Most of the surgical trays have a photograph with a corresponding list of objects used in the set-up.
Written by Margot Way, CALHN Health Museum