Center for Lifelong Learning

Why Choose Our RN First Assistant Program?

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 hands-on program 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, and communication and safety skills. You will gain skills in tissue handling and wound healing, surgical procedures, and management of perioperative complications.

The program begins with a four-day on-campus session where you will learn from interactive presentations by surgeons and current RNFAs. You will complete the remainder of the coursework online, then complete a 200-hour clinical practicum with a board-certified surgeon preceptor of your choice.

Fifty hours of this internship can be pre- or post-operative, the remainder must be intra-operative.

This program 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 approved for 6 graduate level credits and also recognized by the CCI: Competency and Credentialing Institute.

Requirements and Registration

Apply for the RNFA program

To secure your spot in the next RN First Assistant program 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.

In order for us to start processing your application and secure your spot, submit the following first:

  • copy of current RN or NP license or registration (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.
    • APRN—proof of recognition must be submitted before a certificate of completion is awarded.
  • 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 or an email from a hospital or surgery center email address.
  • Clinical Placement Information Form Please note: A clinical placement agreement between the University of Rochester and the clinical site must be in place before the clinical portion of the course can be started. This agreement can take a significant amount of time to execute, so apply as soon as possible to begin this process.

Once you’ve begun the application and clinical placement agreement process, we will also require:

  • certification in CPR or basic cardiac life support (BCLS) (required) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) (preferred)
  • notice of Health Examination/Immunization Form
  • proof of health care insurance (current insurance card)
  • two letters of recommendation from an OR manager or nursing peer, that validate:
    • proficiency in the role of scrubbing, circulating or first assisting
    • 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
  • curriculum vitae or resume
  • submission of online course application/consent
  • official university registration

Program Duration

Two to three semesters, depending on practicum schedule

Course Start Dates:
November 13-16, 2017
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

June, 2018

Helen Wood Hall, UR School of Nursing
255 Crittenden Blvd., Rochester, NY 14642
Maps and Directions

Application Deadlines

The RNFA Course has rolling admissions.

The fee for applying is $75.

  • Register before Oct. 1 to waive the application fee for the November class.
  • Register before May 1 to waive the application fee for the June class.

Program Costs

Tuition for the RN First Assistant Program is:

  • $3,500
  • In addition, there is a $75 non-refundable application fee

What You Can Do as an RNFA

Upon completing the RN First Assistant Program from the UR School of Nursing, you’ll be prepared take on nursing roles in a variety of ways:

Work for the operating room of a hospital
Work directly with one physician or a physician group
Work for yourself