As medical procedures continue to advance technologically and the need for specialized surgery increases, the need for professional, highly-trained surgical assistants is growing at a very rapid rate. Luzerne County Community College offers the Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) Training Program to address these local and national needs.
The RNFA is a professional care giver who assumes the responsibility for providing technical assistance under the direct supervision of the operating surgeon. The RNFA performs the usual functions pertaining to the perioperative experience, but in addition performs a number of intraoperative functions which may include: handling tissue, providing adequate exposure with retractors, using instruments, suturing, and maintaining hemostasis. RNFA's can be self- employed or employed by an institution, a surgeon or group surgeons group. Others are employed as educators in RNFA programs or as health care administrators.
Registered nurses with 2-4 years of perioperative nursing experience (including operating room circulating and scrubbing experience), Basic Life Support Certification and a certification in operating room (CNOR) nursing are eligible for Registered Nurse First Assistant training. While not required, certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is preferred.
LCCC's RNFA Training Program requires students to complete a clinical rotation in surgery consisting of 120 hours, to be completed within a four (4) month period. A minimum of 25 hours must be completed in general surgery, with the remaining hours completed in the specialty of the RN's choosing.
Following completion of the Program, the RNFA will encompass the following skills:
- Knowledge of normal/abnormal anatomy
- Specific knowledge of surgical procedures
- Ability to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate patients' needs and needs of the surgical team
- Extensive communication skills
- Team building skills
- Surgical assisting and instrumentation skills
- Patient education and discharge planning skills
The successful RN will receive a certificate of achievement and be eligible to sit for the RNFA certification examination administered by the Association of Operating Room Nurses.