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RN First Assistant in Surgery, Certificate of Competency

Effective: Fall, 2017

The knowledge and technique necessary to assuming responsibilities of the RN First Assistant in Surgery (RNFA) are emphasized.  The role of the first assistant is explored in its interdependent relationship, as the nurse works both with the physician and for the benefit of the patient.  The nursing diagnosis is used as the defining guide in planning and implementing patient care.  Expanded functions are stressed and elaborated as the nurse is prepared to assume responsibility in scrubbing, draping, retracting, exposing, clamping, ligating and suturing.  Intellectual and manual dexterity are combined to prepare the nurse with the essential skills necessary to this expanded professional role.
To qualify of the RN First Assistant Program, students must be a perioperative registered nurse with two (2) years of perioperative nursing experience, have achieved certification in perioperative nursing (CNOR) or be eligible to take the CNOR Exam, or be a certified Nurse Practitioner,or certified Nurse Midwife.

The College recognizes the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) position statement on the role of the RNFA.  The certificate program meets AORN Education Standards and is acknowledged by the Competency and Credentialing Institute for Perioperative Nursing. 

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this certificate, students should be able to:

  • Describe the historical role of the operating room nurse as it relates to RNFA practice.
  • Describe essential principles underlying RNFA practice.
  • Describe the principle nursing behaviors encompassed in RNFA practice.
  • Apply knowledge of surgical anatomy and physiology to surgical first assisting.
  • Analyze approaches used in operative procedures.
  • Identify surgical hazards and their management.

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