Are you a certified operating room nurse (CNOR), and ready to take on an expanded role? Or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with the desire to follow your surgical patients throughout their perioperative experience?
This course will provide you with an in-depth look at the essential elements of RN First Assistant practice, including scope of practice, the nursing process as a foundation for practice, communication, and operating room safety. You will gain clinical skills including use of surgical instruments, tissue handling and wound healing, surgical procedures, and management of perioperative complications.
The course is a five-week intensive online offering with weekly synchronous sessions where you can meet with your instructors and guest speakers and interactive, asynchronous online learning activities, including videos, active discussion boards, interactive activities and readings and resources.
We have been able to harness the expertise of our expert surgeons, RNFAs, NPs, OR Nurses and wound care/infection prevention specialists to provide a complete and thorough education based on the five modules of the AORN curriculum. This combination of learning methods allows your schedule to be flexible, while utilizing best online learning practices and enabling connection between learners, instructors and experts.
This will be followed by an in-person simulation and lab day in which students will be separated into small groups and rotate among the following activities: suture skill development; scrubbing, gowning, and gloving; instrumentation identification and handling, robotic surgery simulation; and laparoscopic simulation.
Fifty hours of this internship can be pre- or post-operative, the remainder must be intra-operative.
This course is designed for students who already hold a degree in nursing. It is based on the guidelines set forth by Association of Peri-Operative Registered Nurses (AORN) and is an acceptable program for CRNFA or RNAS-C eligibility. It is approved for 6 graduate level credits.
Application & Program Requirements
current RN license in same state in which the clinical internship will be undertaken
verification that you are eligible for or currently have one of the following credentials:
CNOR—if the student is not certified as a CNOR at the time of admission, proof of certification must be submitted before a certificate of completion is awarded. https://www.cc-institute.org/
APRN—Nurse Pracitioner, Nurse Midwife, Nurse Anesthetis-proof of recognition must be submitted before a certificate of completion is awarded.
Baccelaureate degree in any subject areas
Effective January 1, 2020 the education level for entry into an RNFA program and, subsequently, RNFA practice will be the baccalaureate degree AORN recommends that RNs who were practicing as RNFAs prior to January 1, 2020 and do not have a baccalaureate degree be permitted to continue to practice as RNFAs. Anyone who wants to begin practicing as an RNFA after January 1, 2020 should hold a baccalaureate degree.
verification from a board certified surgeon agreeing to act as preceptor. You will need to find a preceptor and coordinate this agreement. This can be in the form of a letter on letterhead signed by the surgeon or an email from the surgeon's hospital or surgery center email address. See requirements for the surgeon letter.
curriculum vitae or resume
information for the hospital or surgery center where you plan to complete clinical placement, including name, address, and contact information. This information is used to put together an official legal Clinical Placement Agreement between our school and the hospital, which is necessary to complete clinical hours and the program. This generally takes 6 weeks or more to complete.
two recommendations (must be completed through our online application) from an OR manager, surgeon, or nursing peer, that assess:
the level of proficiency in the role of scrubbing, circulating or first assisting, if any
one's ability to perform effectively in stressful and emergency situations
one's ability to perform effectively and harmoniously as a team member
one's ability to perform effectively as a leader
certification in CPR or basic cardiac life support (BCLS) (required) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) (preferred)
notice of Health Examination/Immunization Form ($30 fee)
proof of health care insurance (current insurance card)
To secure your spot in the next RN First Assistant course session, please begin the application process as soon as possible. You will be able to save and come back to your application as you submit various materials.
Two to three semesters, depending on practicum schedule
Upcoming Course Sessions:
Fall Session: Online- September 28 - November 11 In Person Simulation Day- November 11 (currently tentative)
February Spring Session: Online February 1 - March 10 In Person Simulation Day- March 10 (Currently tentative
The RN First Assistant Program is offered each year in June, September, and February. Preference is given to those who already have a placement agreement and those who already have CNOR/NP certification.
For June Class Session: Early admission: March 1 ($25 fee) Regular Admission: April 1 ($50 fee)
For September Class Session: Early Admission: July 1 ($25 fee) Regular Admission: Aug. 1 ($50 fee)
For February Class Session: Early admission: Nov. 1 ($25 fee) Regular Admission: Dec. 1 ($50 fee)
The cost of the RN First Assistant Course is:
Please note: there is a $25 early admission and $50 late admission non-refundable application fee, as well as a $30 health update fee.
Julius Cheng is certified by the American Board of Surgery. He is a member of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American Medical Association.