APRIL 2020 • Volume 13, No. 4

From the Editor

How are you doing these days?

Some of our readers are working night and day in hospitals on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic and facing some of the most bizarre and challenging work days of their lives.

Others are staying home during the lockdown. They’re struggling with isolation, the need to juggle online work and their kids’ homeschooling, and worries about coronavirus and the economy. And then there are the stresses of online video conferencing (see podcast referenced below, “Zoom Is Breaking Our Brains”). Let’s just say the current situation is getting to all of us.

Bottom line, reading or consuming digital media can be a welcome change from our regular lives at a time like this. We generally publish an “RNFA reading” issue in June; this year we’re moving that issue forward to right now.

Also in this issue: we checked in with NIFA’s favorite charity, Mission to Heal, to see how they’re doing during the pandemic, and their answer is below. And we’re bringing you a new crossword puzzle to work on; the topic is Malignant Hyperthermia.

Our Student in the Spotlight is Ted Barrett, APRN, from Broken Arrow, OK.

Scroll down for the latest batch of RNFA jobs we’ve collected for you, as well as NIFA’s favorite links.

Stay safe and well.

Julie Lancaster, Editor

News: Mission to Heal Check-in

Mission to Heal is a nonprofit global medical missions agency that heals underserved people and trains local practitioners in the most remote and needy areas of the world. NIFA is a longtime supporter of their work and several of our graduates have participated in missions. Their founder, Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, also serves on NIFA’s teaching faculty. We contacted the Mission to Heal U.S. office last week and asked how they are faring in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. USA Project Manager Karen Pimpo replied:

Yes, we have been impacted by the coronavirus. We had a small team of volunteers in Uganda getting ready to move the Mobile Surgical Unit to Kenya when this all started to gain more attention globally a few weeks ago. With the movement between countries our team would have been quarantined for two weeks and the eventual return home may have been impacted, so we were forced to cut our mission short.

However, we are continuing to plan for missions this summer, fall, and winter to finish what we started! As the global situation continues to develop, we know that some of our plans are tentative. But if we don’t continue to plan, we won’t be prepared to start serving again when the opportunity arises. We want to be ready to go.

To that end, we would love to invite NIFA RNFAs to check out the updated schedule of missions here on our website: missiontoheal.org/2020-missions. We plan to wrap up serving in Uganda and then continue missions in Kenya, where we served last year. We have a great partnership with the Lake Turkana Wind Power “Winds of Change Foundation,” their charitable arm that supports healthcare initiatives throughout Kenya. Our goal is to continue hosting educational training sessions with local medical professionals. Our aim is to “train the trainers” and leave a sustainable healthcare legacy that can continue long after we are gone. We also will continue utilizing the Mobile Surgical Unit to both conduct surgery and training on our mission.

Books and Media for RNFAs


The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story
, by Christie Watson (2018). Christie Watson spent 20 years as a nurse. In this intimate and poignant book she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets, taking the reader down hospital corridors to visit the wards and meet her unforgettable patients.

How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman (2007). On average, a physician will interrupt a patient describing her symptoms within 18 seconds. By that time, many doctors will have decided on the likely diagnosis and best treatment. Often, those decisions are correct, but sometimes they can be wrong, with catastrophic consequences. One reviewer on Amazon says: “I’m a Critical Care and Emergency Department RN. I’ve seen every error the author discusses made, some on multiple occasions. We all will be a healthcare consumer at some point in our lives. I encourage everyone to read this book, both for their safety and to help promote a healthier relationship with their physician.”

The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines
, by Cate Lineberry (2013). When 26 Army nurses and medics—part of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron—boarded a cargo plane for transport in November 1943, they never anticipated the crash landing in Nazi-occupied Albania that would lead to their months-long struggle for survival. Gripping and suspenseful—a real page turner.

Podcasts / Videos

The ZDoggMD Show – “Healthcare’s unfiltered voice.” The podcasts are also available in video. Recent topics: “Restoring Humanity in the ICU during COVID” and “Zoom Is Breaking Our Brains.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine Podcasts
 – Podcasts on broad and specialized topics. Recent topics include: “Tangible Actions and COVID-19” and “Blood Pressure Meds and COVID.”

Ninja Nerd Medicine is a YouTube channel that presents specific clinical medicine topics in areas such as anatomy and physiology, pathology and pathophysiology, in a lively, entertaining and educational way. Their sister YouTube channel, Ninja Nerd Science, is worth checking out, too.

TV Shows

(2020). This new series follows five young nurses working on the front lines of St. Mary’s Hospital dedicating their lives to helping others while figuring out how to help themselves.

(2004-2012). Medical drama. The main character is Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), an antisocial medical genius who, despite his dependence on pain medication, leads a team of diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey.

Scrubs (2001-2010). Medical comedy-drama. The series follows the lives of employees at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital, a teaching hospital.  

Grey’s Anatomy (2005-present). Medical drama focusing on the lives of surgical interns, residents, and attending doctors as they develop into seasoned doctors while balancing personal and professional relationships.

Crossword Puzzle: Malignant Hyperthermia

Test your knowledge of Malignant Hyperthermia procedures with this month’s all-new crossword puzzle.

When you’re ready to check your answers, follow this link to see how well you did. Good luck!


Student Spotlight: Ted Barrett


Student Status
Current Student

City & State
Broken Arrow, OK

Current Position
Nurse Practitioner at Broken Arrow Urgent Care. Currently working on my surgical rotation for first assist.

Where did you get your RN degree?
Oklahoma Wesleyan University, BSN; Maryville University, MSN.

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?
It’s something I’ve wanted to do since graduating nursing school. I never had the opportunity until now.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?
Palming the needle holder.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
Realizing a dream. Completing my career.

Jobs Front

Click here for the RNFA job postings we’ve collected for you this month.

NIFA – Office Hours

Monday-Thursday, 8:00am – 4:00pm
Friday, 8:00am – 3:00pm

Practice Resources

Here are several of the most-in-demand sites for our students, prospective students and grads:

MD Edge Surgery News: Specialty News and Commentaries, Videos and More
RNFA Scope of Practice by State (PDF)
ACS List of Cases that Require an Assistant at Surgery, 2018 (PDF)
Perioperative Nurse Links (state nursing boards & professional associations)
APRN Nurse Links

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this newsletter are strictly those of their respective authors and do not necessarily represent the views of NIFA. NIFA does not give any express or implied warranty as to the accuracy of statements made by our contributors and does not accept any liability for error or omission. It is the responsibility of all perioperative personnel to work within and adhere to their facility bylaws and individual scope of practice.

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