Academic Catalog

RN First Assistant in Surgery, Certificate of Competency (NURR)

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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.

An Associate in Applied Science will be awarded upon completion of the program with a 2.0 GPA and a “C” or better in all Allied Health and Nursing (AHN) courses.

  • 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.

The College will award a certificate of competency to students who complete an approved credit-bearing career program that requires less than 30 credits. General education courses may not be required for programs that have less than 30 credits. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. At least six credit hours must be in courses that are awarded grade points.

Plan of Study Grid
First SemesterHours
NUS 207 RN First Assistant 3
Second Semester
NUS 208 RN First Assistant Internship 3
 Total Hours6

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.

The program is approved for continuing education credits by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Inc., is an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation and is acknowledged by the Competency and Credentialing Institute as meeting the educational requirements to sit for the RNFA Certification Exam.