Are you a First Assistant?

  1. Hello,

    I'm a student nurse and will be pursuing the OR Nursing specialty. However, I don't want to stop there, I also want to become a First Assistant. Could you share with me how you got to be a First Assistant, experiences, recommend schools, etc.

    Thank you so much !!!
  2. Visit Devon Rex profile page

    About Devon Rex, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 509; Likes: 257
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Rehab, Ortho-Spine, Med-Surg, & Psych


  3. by   CameoRN
    At my hospital, nurses are the hands-off part of surgery ("circulation nurse" who stays out of the sterile field, preps necessary items, counts sponges, and runs after more supplies if needed.) We have specially trained Surgery Techs that are First Assists. I've been told it's because the Surgery Techs make less $$. That is sad because they have a very important job, but I digress.

    The other thing I've seen is Nurse Practitioners that work for surgical groups around here will sometimes work First Assist (and see follow ups in the clinic) but they are in specialized practices, not general surgery: Like a Cardio Thoracic surgeon does the opening of the chest and the surgery for a CABG while the NP harvests the leg vein and does the majority of the closing after the surgery.

    Not sure that's how it's done everywhere, but that's the way we do it here. I live in the South.
  4. by   CIRQL8
    There are several ways to become a first assist. There are several companies that train Nurses and STs to be certified first assists. Perhaps the best known for nurses is the CRNFA program through CCI. There are many other programs available. One can also be trained on the job. Many surgeons hire techs or nurses and train then to come in and assist in the OR. many surgeons hire nurse practitioners or physician assistants to assist in the OR. In order to be a billable entity, one must be a certified first assist or an ANP or PA. an advantage of the NP or PA is that they can dictate and do many other duties for the doc in lieu of the doc. These things vary greatly by license, state, area, and institution.
  5. by   Devon Rex
    Hello! Thanks for your post. I noticed you do/work with surgical urology. That's exactly the area I'd like to specialize in. One thing I didn't say on my first post is that I'm also planning on studying all the way to DNP while I work. My thought is to work in the OR as an RN circulator and inch my way into FA. Once I get my DNP, I would like to work in an urology clinic and still participate in surgeries. I know plans do not always go as one wishes, but that's the route I thought of taking.

    Any comments? How realistic is the path I'm thinking. I have no mentor, so I'll be breaking into it alone and with great hope some surgeon would notice my work ethics and give me the opportunity that I want.

    Thanks again!