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Registered Nurse First Assistant Program (RNFA)

The RNFA has gone through additional extensive education and trainingSurg Tech pic
to deliver surgical care.The RNFA directly assists the surgeon by controlling bleeding, using instruments and medical devices, handling and cutting tissue, and suturing during the procedure. The RNFA may also be involved with patient care before and after surgery.

The RNFA program is an Advanced Technical Certificate began in the Spring of 2008.  RNFA Theory course, NSP2090, is offered completely online.

RNFA Lab/Clinical course, NSP2090L, is offered online with an onsite one week lab training class during the Summer (third week of September each year) followed by clinical externship in your area which can take a minimum of approximately two semesters (6 months to 1 year).

  • Open-entry, open-exit from January to September each year.  Accepting applications year round.  The online Theory course, NSP2090, starts in January, with the Lab/Clinical externship, NSP2090L, beginning in August.  You can begin the Theory class anytime.

  • Lab class week is the third full week each September. 

      RNFA Application Packet and program requirements:

        1. New students should apply for General Admission to Gulf Coast State College <click here>

        2. New students must pay the $20 college application fee online, at the Bookstore, or in person or by phone
            with GCSC Business Office.

        3. Proof of current active "unencumbered" licensure as a registered nurse in the state in which the clinical
            internship will be taken.

        4. Verification of certification as one of the following: CNOR or CNOR eligible, or APN (see application packet
            for further information)

        5. Current valid CPR card and maintain certification throughout the entire length of the program. Acceptable
            cards are the American Heart Association Healthcare Provider, American Red Cross Professional Rescuer,
            Basic Cardiac Life Support (BTLS), or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).

        6. Two (2) Letters of Reference (see application packet)

        7. Prior to clinical component, must submit proof of current personal professional liability insurance of
            RNFA practice.

   Information on RNFA - Scope of Practice Issues

  1. AORN Position Statement on the role of the RNFA
  2. Competency & Credentialing Institute - Identified as an approved course

"The RNFA has graduated from a program that adheres to the AORN Standards for RNFA Education Programs, possesses the registered nurse first assistant certification, has completed 12 cases with a credentialed proctor, and has at least 2,000 hours of RNFA experience."

Credentialing as an RNFA in your local institution: definition of the RNFA role or a description of accepted activities within the state's nursing scope of practice. The amount of detail in the state's nursing scope of practice varies from no definition to a very detailed definition.

The California State Board of Nursing rules contain a detailed list of RNFA activities, but in contrast, your state may be similar to Colorado and Delaware, which have no definitive scope of practice or list of activities for RNFAs.

A third variation is to refer nurses to third-party definitions, as in the case of the advisory opinion from the South Carolina Board of Nursing, which states that the activities of the RNFA are defined by AORN's official statement on RNFAs.