Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Brittany Page, B.A.S., CST, CSFA
Coordinator, Health Sciences, Surgical Services

Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)

The Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) is a registered nurse who has received advanced training as a certified perioperative nurse (CNOR) and surgical first assistant, or  an advanced registered nurse practitioner with specialized surgical and first assistant training.  First Assisting is within the scope of nursing practice in all fifty state boards of nursing. 

As a provider of surgical assisting, the RNFA is often reimbursed by insurance companies for services rendered at a significantly lower cost to the consumer while providing safe quality patient care.

To complete an RNFA program, the RN must have, at least, a Bachelor's Degree, two years of professional nursing experience in the operating room environment, achieve the credential of CNOR (Certified Perioperative Nurse), or possess an advanced registered nurse practice degree and complete the training in surgical first assistant.  As required by the AORN standards, the program does require at least a Bachelor's Degree with CNOR eligibility or licensure as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner.  If you do not have your Bachelor's Degree, GCSC offers a BSN or other BS degrees which are online and more economical than at major universities.   
Certification is not required to function under the Florida State Nurse Practice Act as an RNFA.  The program is completed within 2 semesters (1 academic year) which involves web-based classes and on-site Lab components.

Registered Nurse First Assistants are credentialed by the National Assistants at Surgery Certification (NASC)

 or, the official website of perioperative nursing.

For certification, you must complete the NASC requirements successfully to utilize the credential or title of “Registered Nurse Assistant at Surgery-Certified (RNAS-C)” or “Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA).”

If you decide that becoming a RNFA is for you, follow the attached instruction checklist. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at, 850.873.3551. We look forward to working with you in the future.

What Does a RNFA do?

The RNFA has preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative duties including patient history and assessment, collaborating with surgeon and other professionals for an optimal surgical outcome, assisting with patient positioning, skin preparation, and draping, providing wound exposure, handling tissue, controlling blood loss, suturing tissue, and performing follow-up care. 

Education:  Completion of a program that meets the National Assisting at Surgery Certification (NASC) guidelines.   

National information:  For national information, visit

Testing information:  For testing information, visit National Assistants at Surgery Certification (NASC).

Credentialing requirements include:  CNOR, bachelor's degree or master's degree in nursing, 2000 hours (first assisting) and completion of a CBPN-acceptable RNFA program.  For CRNFA, upon completion of this program, you are eligible for the RNAS-C exam.

Gulf Coast State College offers the Registered Nurse First Assistant Advanced Technical Certificate year around.

Gulf Coast State College does not discriminate against any person in its programs, activities, policies or procedures on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, marital status, religion, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. All questions or inquiries regarding compliance with laws relating to non-discrimination and all complaints regarding sexual misconduct or discrimination, may be directed to Lee Wood, Executive Director, Human Resources/Title II/504/Title IX Coordinator and Employment Equity Officer, Gulf Coast State College, 5230 W. US Highway 98, Panama City, FL 32401.