Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)

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 as 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, 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.   

Certification is not required to function under the Florida State Nurse Practice Act as an RNFA.  The program usually occurs over a 9 month to 1 year period involving both classroom and clinical components.

The nurse who has completed all eligibility requirements may then apply for, and complete, a national exam to receive the credential (CRNFA) through the Competency Credentialing Institute

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 Competency and Credentialing Institute guidelines.   

National information:  For national information, visit

Testing information:  For testing information, visit

Application packet:  For a RNFA application packet with additional information.

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.

Registered Nurse First Assistants are credentialed by the Competency Credentialing Institute.

Gulf Coast State College offers a Surgical Assistant Program once a year.