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Surgical First Assistance in Operative Procedures HEA3055


This module is designed to develop qualified practitioners, who have been identified by their trusts to undertake the Surgical First Assistant (SFA) role, enabling students to expand their professional boundaries by focussing on developing knowledge, skills and confidence which will support their enhanced clinical skills. This module encompasses the skills required to act as the surgeon’s assistant including legal and ethical boundaries, risk, applied anatomy and physiology and a range of specific clinical skills and techniques relevant to the role.

This module aims to develop knowledge and skills for those acting as the Surgical First Assistant (SFA) formerly known as Advanced Scrub Practitioner (ASP) to the operating surgeon. To ensure the trainee FSA becomes competent and safe to practice; students are advised this module will require employer support. The support required includes, formal permission and access to assessment provided by their theatre management and surgical team. This must be obtained prior to commencing the module. A suitable clinical supervisor/mentor will be allocated to each trainee SFA, who will foster opportunities to achieve clinical competence. Trainee SFAs must achieve a minimum of 100 hours of clinical practice over the duration of this module.

This module is a theory/practice module in which the student will be expected to have access to a broadband internet ready computer and a suitable practice area. This opportunity can be discussed further with the module coordinator.


Module code:HEA3055
Module credits:30
Cost for new students:£1,470 for September 2024 to July 2025

If your tuition fee is being paid by a sponsor or you are a sponsor paying a student’s fee, you are required to send a copy of a purchase order to

For further guidance please visit: Sponsored students – Edge Hill University

Who is this module for?

A qualified, registered practitioner working either as a scrub practitioner or a practitioner who is in post as an SFA.

What are the key aims of the module?

The module aims to equip qualified practitioners with the appropriate knowledge and experience that will enable them to safely and competently assist for surgical procedures in the skills which are specifically listed by the PCC as being within the role of an SFA. Whilst providing the practitioners with an understanding of their professional boundaries and legalities of the role.

How will I study?

The module is normally delivered over approximately 24 weeks with 4 Manchester based campus sessions. The module is also provided in a flexible manner where distance learning students can achieve the module completely online.

What will I study?

  • Legalities of the role;
  • Risk assessment principles of the role;
  • An overview of the role of the SFA;
  • Pre and post-operative visits;
  • Prepping and draping;
  • Positioning;
  • Tissue retraction, handling and exposure;
  • Camera holding in minimal access surgery;
  • Minimal access surgery;
  • Assisting with Haemostasis;
  • Electro-surgery;
  • Anatomy and physiology of skin;
  • Physiology of wound healing;
  • Principles of wound drainage;
  • Wound dressings;
  • Male and female catheterisation;
  • Infection control;
  • Microbiology.

How will I be assessed?

Students will be assessed theoretically by producing a 3500 word evaluative report reflecting on the learning experiences, in relation to the module learning outcomes.

Students will be also be required to produce an academic portfolio that includes a risk assessment, clinical supervisor’s judgment on the student’s competence and a logbook of the clinical hours and skills completed. To support successful completion of the module, the student should be exposed to and have achieved competence over a minimum of 100 clinical hours.

Demonstrate your SFA competencies through a comprehensive portfolio; which will support you in your application for a Surgical First Assistant job role.

Core K.S.F. Core Dimensions

1 Communication
2 Personal and people development
3 Health safety and security
4 Service improvement
5 Quality
6 Equality and diversity

Specific Dimension Relevant to this Module
HWB1-10, EF3, IK1-3, and G1, 2 & 7.

N.B. The mapping is against the module content. This may help the student provide evidence for their own K.S.F. outline review/PDP.


On successful completion you will:

  • Critically examine the application of anatomy and patho-physiology knowledge to maintain and ensure safety of patients undergoing surgical procedures
  • Critically review and  evaluate clinical judgement and practice, within the boundaries of the role, to ensure competent and safe assistance to the surgeon during clinical procedures whilst promoting an evidence based approach to care
  • Critically examine the issues of accountability, responsibility, and role limitations across professional boundaries of advanced practice, demonstrating knowledge of own scope of practice
  • Reflect critically upon the need for risk assessment and guidelines in relation to the Surgical First Assistant role.

Study dates and venues

Venue: Manchester

Starts: Friday 29 November 2024

Session times:

  • Friday 29 November 2024 9am-3pm, Manchester Campus
  • Friday 20 December 2024 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 10 January 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 24 January 2025 9am-3pm, Online and Manchester Campus
  • Friday 7 February 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 21 February 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 7 March 2025 9am-3pm, Online and Manchester Campus
  • Friday 21 March 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 4 April 2025 9am-3pm, Online and Manchester Campus
  • Friday 11 April 2024 9am-3pm, Online

Assignment Submission - 16 May 2025 at 4pm

Venue: Manchester

Starts: Friday 28 March 2025

Session times:

  • Friday 28 March 2025 9am-3pm, Manchester campus
  • Friday 11 April 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 25 April 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 9 May 2025 9am-3pm, Online and Manchester campus
  • Friday 23 May 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 6 June 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 20 June 2025 9am-3pm, Online and Manchester campus
  • Friday 4 July 2025 9am-3pm, Online
  • Friday 18 July 2025 9am-3pm, Online and Manchester campus
  • Friday 1 August 2025 9am-3pm, Online

      Assignment Submission - 12 September 2025 at 4pm

How to apply

Module availability varies from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Due to the popularity of some modules it may be that the module is fully booked when your application is received. We will include your details on a waiting list and allocate you a place on the next available intake.

For details of how to apply, please visit the apply page.

Students also need to download and complete the Theatre Manager Proposal Approval Form. This should be submitted to prior to the start of study.

Contact us

For further information regarding module availability, study dates and costs please contact the School of Allied Health, Social Work and Wellbeing on

If you have any queries regarding module content and your suitability to study please contact the Module Coordinator, David Lawson


This module can be studied on a stand alone basis. Following successful completion of HEA3055, practitioners can progress to Edge Hill University’s HEA4255 Enhanced Surgical Skills.

HEA3055 is a compulsory module on the BSc (Hons) Clinical and Professional Perioperative Practice programme.