From the Editor

Spring has sprung and with it (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) longer, warmer days–cue the spring fever!

Though it may be harder this time of year, keeping focused and safe in the OR is vital. Especially in view of a newly released study that reports an increase in OR sharps injuries in the US–rather than the expected decrease–since passage of needlestick safety bill in 2000.

Read on to learn a new site for accessing online surgical resources. And finally, meet Kimberly Jones, a 2008 graduate of the NIFA program currently working as an RNFA in Illinois.

Julie Lancaster, Editor

Sharps Injuries in the OR Increase After Passage of 2000 Safety Law

A new study published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons reports that, despite the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act in 2000, operating room sharps injuries increased by 6.5% between 2000 and 2006. During that same period, sharps injuries in nonsurgical settings decreased by 31.6%.

The study identifies nurses and surgical techs as the most commonly injured personnel in the OR, with suture needles, scalpel blades and syringes as the most common mechanisms of injury. 75% of OR sharps injuries occur during use or passing of these devices. Read the abstract at the journal’s website.

RNFA Tip: New No-cost Online Resource

The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons (SLS) is now offering free (and password-free) online access to full-text journal articles, abstracts, surgical textbooks and award-winning procedural videos on their website,

The site’s video selections include procedures for bariatrics, cancer, hernia, lap chole, and several others.

SLS Chairman, Paul Allan Wetter, MD, explained that offering entirely free access aligned best with the SLS mission of providing “information and education in the field of minimally invasive surgery to surgeons worldwide.”

Graduate in the Spotlight: Kimberly Jones

Name:  Kimberly Jones

Credentials: RN, CNOR, RNFA

City and State: Mattoon, IL–a small town (rural farming community) in central Illinois known as the bagel capital of the world

Current Job:  Currently I work for Lincoln Trail Orthopedics as the office nurse and RNFA for the orthopedic surgeon. I enjoy meeting the patients before surgery, which enables me to fill the operative team in on any information that might be helpful for the case. I have had patients tell me they are glad to see a familiar face in the OR. I also work in a very limited PRN status in a local trauma center as a circulator in the OR.

Graduate Status: I graduated from the NIFA program in 2008 and passed my CNOR at the same time.*

Story: I became an RNFA after I was placed into the position of assisting an orthopedic surgeon. I had absolutely no experience in the OR when I started the journey, and it took a lot of patience on the surgeon’s part to get me to the day I felt I needed to become an official RNFA. I had been in another program but I didn’t feel it met my goals. I proceeded to enroll in NIFA’s program and knew I had made the correct choice when the surgeon pointed out my skills and knowledge had increased. I was impressed he noticed.

I now find it enjoyable to explain the process of why things are done the way they are to students or new staff in the room. I have since begun working with another orthopedic surgeon who had never had an RNFA. I think knowing he can leave the room and leave me to complete the closure shows a level of trust that is needed in an operative team; of course I do have to check out my closures and critique my work when the patient comes back to the office.

I have only been involved as an orthopedic RNFA and cannot imagine doing anything else. There is such a variety of procedures as well as patient ages that there is always something to learn. It is never a routine procedure. I think that is the most important thing to take away from being an RNFA. NIFA’s program prepared me even more to be able to think on my feet in the OR setting. Thanks, NIFA.

*  NIFA note to readers: If you do not yet hold the CNOR title, click here to learn how you can study for the CNOR exam and your RNFA concurrently.