Cost of RNFA programs (NIFA)

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    Next year I'll be ready to join a program. Through the research, I think that NIFA will be the best route for me, as there are no schools close to Texas. I have read in their testimonials that people say it is more expensive than most programs.

    Anyone here go through NIFA? If so, please give me some info regarding pricing, as there isnt any on the site.
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  4. 0
    most schools only give prices for a year that are still subject to change so what it was for others may not be for you.

    another thing you have to consider is what rn degree you have-this is copied from their site, “[color=#333333]attn: ad and diploma rnfa program graduates:
    [color=#333333]nifa strongly encourages all its students to attain a bsn and sit for the crnfa exam. however, we know that for many of you, this may not be practical path at this point in your lives. in your case, associates degree graduates have an alternative certification pathway available. please call us at 1-800-922-7747 press ‘1’, for your options[color=#333333].”

    your best bet would be to contact them directly. this is also copied from their site, distance learning rn first assistant program at 1.800.922.7747

    hope it helps!
  5. 0
    Quote from ewattsjt
    most schools only give prices for a year that are still subject to change so what it was for others may not be for you.

    another thing you have to consider is what rn degree you have-this is copied from their site, “[color=#333333]attn: ad and diploma rnfa program graduates:
    [color=#333333]nifa strongly encourages all its students to attain a bsn and sit for the crnfa exam. however, we know that for many of you, this may not be practical path at this point in your lives. in your case, associates degree graduates have an alternative certification pathway available. please call us at 1-800-922-7747 press ‘1’, for your options[color=#333333].”

    your best bet would be to contact them directly. this is also copied from their site, distance learning rn first assistant program at 1.800.922.7747

    hope it helps!
    thanks, though i am a bsn, you are not required to have a bsn or higher unless you are planning on being a cerfitifed rnfa. those with adn's can still become rnfa's without trouble.

    i also understand that prices change every year or sometimes sooner. however, any rough estimate would be appreciated.
  6. 0
    Quote from heather2084
    thanks, though I am a BSN, you are not required to have a BSN or higher unless you are planning on being a Cerfitifed RNFA. Those with ADN's can still become RNFA's without trouble.

    I also understand that prices change every year or sometimes sooner. However, any rough estimate would be appreciated.
    You might check with the hospitals that you hope to work at. CRNFA is trademarked by AORN (and I believe that RNFA is also). This means that you cannot use the credential if you do not meet the qualifications. For CRNFA that means you have to have a bachelors or Masters in nursing. A number of hospitals will only accept the CRNFA for nurses.

    Also Surgical assisting is very dependent on relationships with hospitals and surgeons. Before spending a lot of money on an educational program, its probably wise to see if there is a job that you can use the education in. It would suck to pay the money for certification and then find that hospitals don't accept it or there are no surgical assist jobs (unless of course you enjoy the learning environment).

    Just some thoughts

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  7. 0
    Quote from core0
    You might check with the hospitals that you hope to work at. CRNFA is trademarked by AORN (and I believe that RNFA is also). This means that you cannot use the credential if you do not meet the qualifications. For CRNFA that means you have to have a bachelors or Masters in nursing. A number of hospitals will only accept the CRNFA for nurses.

    Also Surgical assisting is very dependent on relationships with hospitals and surgeons. Before spending a lot of money on an educational program, its probably wise to see if there is a job that you can use the education in. It would suck to pay the money for certification and then find that hospitals don't accept it or there are no surgical assist jobs (unless of course you enjoy the learning environment).

    Just some thoughts

    David Carpenter, PA-C

    Thanks for the input. I want to do it for me. If the hospital I'm at won't use me as a RNFA after I become one, then that's fine. I'll find somewhere that will use me. I plan on becoming an RNFA no matter what, so I really would just like an estimate from anyone who's been through the NIFA program in the last couple years.
  8. 0
    .,,,,
    Last edit by core0 on Apr 13, '08 : Reason: double post
  9. 0
    Quote from heather2084
    Thanks for the input. I want to do it for me. If the hospital I'm at won't use me as a RNFA after I become one, then that's fine. I'll find somewhere that will use me. I plan on becoming an RNFA no matter what, so I really would just like an estimate from anyone who's been through the NIFA program in the last couple years.
    Ok. I did notice you are from Texas and Texas in particular has a number of rules on first assisting. The rules can be found here:
    http://www.bon.state.tx.us/practice/gen_practice.html
    Basically they recognize only the CRNFA which means you need the CNOR and a BSN. There are provision that would allow other nurses to first assist, but it dramatically limits your employment opportunities.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  10. 0
    Quote from core0
    Ok. I did notice you are from Texas and Texas in particular has a number of rules on first assisting. The rules can be found here:
    http://www.bon.state.tx.us/practice/gen_practice.html
    Basically they recognize only the CRNFA which means you need the CNOR and a BSN. There are provision that would allow other nurses to first assist, but it dramatically limits your employment opportunities.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
    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.
  11. 0
    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.
    From 217.8
    "(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
  12. 0
    Quote from core0
    From 217.8
    "(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
    Thanks for the information again. I guess you'll have to point it out to me clearly where it says that in Tx you need to be a CRNFA to practice. I see where it says you are requred to be CNOR certified, which is not the same as CRNFA.


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