RNFA - Registered Nurse First Assistant

  • Cost $275-$550
  • Renewal Varies

COURSE FORMAT

Online
In Person

About

The Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) certification is a specialized credential for experienced perioperative registered nurses (RNs) who have advanced to a first assistant role during surgical procedures. This certification recognizes the RN’s expanded set of competencies in providing direct surgical care, functioning as a first assistant at surgery alongside the surgeon. The certification is often overseen by professional organizations such as the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) or the Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI).

Cost: $550 for new applicants and $275 for current RNAS-C candidates

Course Format

RNFA certification requires completion of an RNFA program that includes both didactic and clinical components, followed by a certification examination. The program and exam cover surgical anatomy, procedures, techniques, and perioperative patient management.

Program Length: Varies, typically several months to a year.

Exam Length: The exam has a time limit of 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Question Format: 180 multiple-choice questions (150 scored, 30 random unscored) assessing knowledge in perioperative nursing, surgical first assisting, and patient care.

Passing Criteria: Determined by the certifying body and usually based on a scaled score.

In Person

RNFA programs are predominantly in-person due to the necessity of hands-on clinical experience. Components include:

  1. Classroom-based learning covering theoretical aspects of surgical first assisting.

  2. Clinical rotations in a surgical setting under the supervision of experienced surgeons and RNFAs.

  3. Completion of a specific number of cases as a first assistant to meet program requirements.

Online

Some theoretical components of RNFA programs may be offered online, including lectures and written coursework. However, the clinical component must be completed in person.

Certification

  1. Education and Experience: Hold an active RN license and have perioperative nursing experience.

  2. RNFA Program: Complete an accredited RNFA program that includes both didactic and clinical components.

  3. Clinical Cases: Fulfill the clinical case requirement as specified by the program.

  4. Examination: Successfully pass the RNFA certification exam.

  5. Certification Issuance: Obtain certification upon fulfilling all requirements and passing the exam.

Renewal

RNFA certification typically requires renewal every 5 years. Renewal processes may involve:

  1. Continuing education specific to perioperative nursing and surgical assisting.

  2. Submission of a renewal application and fee to the certifying body.

  3. Evidence of ongoing clinical practice as an RNFA.

Continuing Education

Maintaining RNFA certification necessitates ongoing education in perioperative nursing, surgical techniques, and patient care. This can include attending conferences, seminars, and completing relevant online courses or workshops.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on RNFA certification, including specific eligibility criteria, program content, and renewal processes, candidates should refer directly to professional organizations like the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) or the Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI).

Other Resources

Preparatory resources for RNFA certification might include textbooks on surgical nursing, online courses, and workshops focusing on perioperative patient care and surgical assisting skills.

Related Certifications

Prior to pursuing RNFA certification, candidates must have:

  1. An active RN license.

  2. Certification in perioperative nursing (CNOR) or equivalent experience

Post-RNFA certification, nurses may pursue additional certifications in advanced practice roles or specialized surgical areas depending on their career interests.

Other related certifications include the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

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Frequently asked questions

What are some certifications I can pursue after obtaining Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) certification?

You can pursue Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA), among others.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)?

The eligibility requirements for the Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) include:

  • A current unencumbered RN license

  • Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

  • A minimum cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 earned during the applicant's most recently completed degree program; AND one of the following:

    • BSN (CNOR/CNOR eligible required prior to the start of the RNFA program)

    • MSN/DNP/PhD with APRN certification

    • BSN/MSN/DNP/PhD seeking APRN and/or CNOR certification

I've completed my Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) degree program. What are the requirements for the Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA) certification?

The requirements for the Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA) certification include a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in preoperative, intraoperative, or postoperative care. The hours must be obtained in the five years immediately preceding application with additional practice requirements.

What are the job duties of a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)?

A Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) job duties include:

  • Performing focused preoperative assessments

  • Using instruments and medical devices

  • Providing hemostasis

  • Suturing

  • Wound management

  • Participating in postoperative rounds

  • Assisting with patient discharge

Does the Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA) certification involve an exam?

No, the Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA) certification does not involve an exam. In May 2021, a professional portfolio took the place of examination in order to demonstrate satisfactory competence. The professional portfolio includes clinical, workplace safety, and professional practice case studies. Instructions for completing the case studies are provided by the credentialing body, National Assistant at Surgery Certification (NASC). Portfolios are evaluated by committees of active and former CRNFAs.