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Information for:

Online Graduate Certificate in Nursing:
Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)

  • Introduction

    This is a post master’s certificate program designed for certified advanced practice nurses with little or no perioperative nursing experience who wish to become an RN First Assistant during operative and other invasive procedures. This program is based on the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) educational guidelines and core curriculum, and consists of a two-course sequence that must be taken in order or concurrently.

    Students will complete a three-credit-hour didactic portion and a four-credit-hour (180 clock hours) precepted clinical internship. The didactic class will be conducted online with a two-day onsite lab component. The clinical internship will be at a site selected by the student.

    The internship will be supervised by a surgeon mentor/preceptor and will consist of supervised clinical activities, case studies, surgical intervention log and independent learning activities.

    This certificate program requires a 3.0 cumulative grade point average with no grade lower than a “B.” All courses must be completed in residence.

    Program prerequisites are certification as an advanced practice nurse, BCLS (ACLS preferred) and basic computer skills. For more information about program admission, visit the nursing program website.

  • Courses
    • NUR 6401 RNFA Practicum (0-0-12). A surgeon-supervised clinical experience to acquire skills to function as a first assistant in surgery. Students will engage in supervised clinical activities and complete a surgical first assisting log. Case studies and independent learning activities will be required. Four semester credit hours will be received for validated documentation of 180 clock hours of internship in a clinical setting. Grading will be either pass or fail.

    • NUR 6309 Role of the RNFA (3-0-0). This course focuses on the role of the advanced practice nurse as a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA). The content utilizes the RNFA Core Curriculum to introduce the advanced practice nurse to the operating room environment and to the RNFA role. Emphasis is placed on surgical anatomy and physiology, principles of asepsis, surgical hazards, first assisting techniques, and scope of practice.

  • Certification Plan
    Registered Nurse First Assistant Post Master’s Certificate
    7 Credit Hours

    Course Number

    Course Title


    NUR 6309

    Role of the RNFA


     NUR 6401

    RNFA Practicum