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NSG 488 - Registered Nurse First Assistant Theory, Practice, and Clinical Practicum

6 credits ( 3 didactic credits / 3 clinical credits )


Students must meet all pre-admission requirements for RNFA education as outlined by AORN (available upon request)


This course is designed to provide the learner with a comprehensive understanding of the perioperative process, building upon knowledge of anatomical structures and physiology, indications for surgical intervention, assisting considerations, intraoperative performance of surgical first-assisting techniques, and evaluation of postoperative patient outcomes. The didactic portion of this course will emphasize the expanded functions unique to the RN First Assistant including the legal, regulatory, and professional issues as well as the specific role of the RNFA in management of patients across the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases incorporating the three dimensions of Socialization Theory—professional socialization, organizational socialization, and role socialization. The clinical portion of this course will focus on the learner’s application of knowledge to safely perform the skills required during the perioperative process. Emphasis will be placed on the development of advanced surgical assisting skills, such as providing surgical site exposure, tissue handling, cutting tissue, suturing, providing hemostasis, using surgical instruments, and wound management. Students will collaborate and communicate with other healthcare providers to develop a plan of care to achieve optimal patient outcomes. In collaboration with a board-certified surgeon preceptor, as well as a RNFA or CRNFA mentor (optional), students will develop personalized learning objectives and identify learning resources to enhance the knowledge and skills necessary for competent RNFA practice and role development.

Student Learning Outcomes:


  1. Analyze factors influencing the role and scope of the role of the RNFA.
  2. Integrate the independent and collaborative aspects of patient care, utilizing the nursing process as a framework.
  3. Apply principles of asepsis, infection control, and epidemiology in best practices of nursing care of the perioperative patient.
  4. Differentiate between abnormal anatomy and physiology as they pertain to the indications for surgical intervention, assisting considerations, and evaluation of postoperative patient outcomes.
  5. Demonstrate communication skills necessary for collaboration and best practices for the RNFA.
  6. Recognize the indication(s) for hemostasis, handling tissue, retraction/exposure, using surgical instruments and suturing.


  1. Demonstrate competent intraoperative RNFA behaviors including:
    1. Preparation, positioning, draping
    2. Retraction, tissue handling, cutting tissue
    3. Suctioning techniques, providing surgical site exposure, hemostasis
    4. Suturing, use of surgical instruments
    5. Wound management
  2. Prepare appropriate preventive and corrective action for recognized surgical hazards.
  3. Provide postoperative care of patients in collaboration with other health care providers in the immediate postoperative period and beyond.


Syllabus for NSG 488 - Registered Nurse First Assistant Theory, Practice, and Clinical Practicum


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