Quote from heather2084
Maybe I missed it, but I didnt see where it said you had to be CRNFA. Maybe I'm taking this the wrong way, but I feel like I'm being talked out of trying to become one, rather than being encouraged to.
"(a) Nurse First Assistants.
(1) A registered nurse who wishes to function as a first assistant (RNFA) in surgery shall meet the following requirements :
(A) Current licensure as a registered nurse in the State of Texas or a current, valid registered nurse license with a multi-state privilege in a party state;
(B) Completion of a nurse first assistant educational program approved or recognized by an organization recognized by the Board; and
(C) Is either:
(i) currently certified in perioperative nursing by an organization recognized by the board (CNOR certification in perioperative nursing);
or (ii) currently recognized by the board as an advanced practice nurse and qualified by education, training, or experience to perform the tasks involved in perioperative nursing."
There is also this:
"(b) Assisting at Surgery by Other Nurses.
(1) A nurse who is not a nurse first assistant as defined in subsection (a) of this section may assist a physician, podiatrist, or dentist in the performance of surgery if the nurse:
(A) Has current licensure as a nurse in the State of Texas or a current, valid nursing license with a multi-state privilege in a party state;
(B) Assists under the direct personal supervision and in the physical presence of the physician, podiatrist, or dentist;
(C) Is in the same sterile field as the physician, podiatrist, or dentist; (D) Is employed by:
(i) the physician, podiatrist, or dentist;
(ii) a group to which the physician, podiatrist, or dentist belongs; or (iii) a hospital licensed or owned by the state; and
(E) Is qualified by education, training, or experience to perform the tasks assigned to the nurse.
(2) A nurse assisting in the performance of surgery under this subsection shall not use: (A) The title "nurse first assistant" or "registered nurse first assistant," (B) The abbreviation "R.N.F.A.," or (C) Any other title or abbreviation that implies to the public that the person is qualified as a nurse first assistant under subsection (a) of this section.
Not trying to talk you out of this. Just make sure you have the proper information before spending a lot of money. The surgical assist field is largely unregulated and surgical assist schools are poorly regulated. They are happy to charge you money for their course. This however, does not guarantee that you can get a job or even use your skills depending on the state that you are in. This is unfortunately fairly typical of some technical programs without a well defined certification or licensing process.
You can make very good money doing first assisting. However, this is usually by either groups or independent SA/RNFAs that can use contacts that they have developed in the OR. From my time in the OR, I know several RNFAs that do exactly that.
However, my take on first assisting is that for a number of reasons including liability the hospitals are trying to reign it in. I know of a number of hospital systems that are closing first assisting to either hospital employees or W-2 employees of surgeons. This largely rules out the more lucrative aspects of first assisting. For example I know one RNFA that is making in the low six figures first assisting. On the other hand, RNFAs employed by the hospital make $2 an hour more when first assisting. The first assisting arena is very complex and you really have to understand it to make any money.
For what its worth, I know a couple of people that have done the NIFA program. They thought it was a pretty easy way for an experienced CST to get their CST/FA. Don't think that the RNFA portion is much different.
David Carpenter, PA-C