From the Editor 

e5651521-0a79-4662-9408-c8f0e9d97393The Yalta Summit. The Geneva Summits. The Summit of the Eight. And now–NIFA’s RNFA Summits! Read on for NIFA’s latest, leading-edge approach to provide the educational experience of a lifetime for current and upcoming RNFAs.

In this issue, we also bring you news of knees (specifically, ACL surgery) and needles (and other items that can accidentally be left in a patient after surgery).

Also, if you’ve enrolled recently, you have probably talked to our newest staff member, Doug Collier, who works with enrollments. If you haven’t met him yet, you’ll want to! He is profiled below.


Julie Lancaster, Editor


In-House News: The Summits!

This January NIFA unveils a new concept in RNFA programs: the RNFA Summits–multi-day, conference-format events that add a bouquet of new opportunities to NIFA’s leading-edge RNFA training.

Held exclusively in Denver, CO, each Summit will include an opening ceremony, guest speakers, general sessions, receptions, a field trip to AORN headquarters and a night on the town in the Denver Tech Center’s new Landmark area–together with 6-day SutureStar or 3-day SutureStarXpress workshops that will feature even better teacher-to-student ratios than the current workshops do. The Summits will be scheduled about every two months throughout 2011.

“The Summits will provide phenomenal opportunities for networking,” says Jeremy Gofton, RNFA Program Director. “It’s at the time students are starting their RNFA careers that they need the most support, and the Summits will enable them to meet people from all over the country who are also starting their careers, while garnering insights from the added instructors.”

Gary Hargreaves of NIFA Medical Billing, a company that currently bills for RNFA services in 34+ states, will be the opening (Sunday) night guest speaker for the first Summit, which begins January 23, 2011.  He will entertain attendees with stories about his years of billing experience and will talk about how self-employed and surgeon-employed RNFAs are getting reimbursed.

After a trip to AORN headquarters, students will dress up for a night on the town in the Landmark area–but they need to bring their notepads, because a special guest speaker will address RNFA topics from the past, present and future together with their political ramifications.

The 6-say Summit/ SutureStar Workshops will include optional general session specialty classes in such topics as EVH, C Section, carotid artery and laparoscopic surgery. Students can attend one or all at no extra charge. In addition, a special “OR Fundamentals” general session will be presented at no charge for NPs who have little to no OR experience.

“The Summits enable us to offer more products to more people for less,” Jeremy explains. “Compared to any offering for RNFA students, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, Summit students will receive exponentially more for their money. Also, we’re lowering the student/teacher ratio in the workshops to one teacher per 15 students.

“Denver is the hub of perioperative nursing, with AORN, NIFA and CCI all headquartered here,” he adds. “It just makes sense to bring students here for these feature-packed programs.” Currently, the events will be held at the Denver Tech Center Hilton Garden Inn, the same facility that AORN uses for some of their events.

And good news for NIFA RNFA students who have yet to attend their workshops: Yes! You can attend a Summit workshop for no extra charge. Click here for details.

News: Does an ACL Tear Really Require Surgery?

Around 200,000 Americans have surgery each year to replace a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL,” begins a story on Denver’s KUSA 9News by Jeffrey Wolf and John Torres.

“But results from a new study show that patients who tear their ACL might not have to undergo surgery after all.” The story goes on to explore a study that compared Swedish amateur athletes who underwent ACL surgery immediately after an injury with those who began physical therapy first, then had surgery later, if needed.

News: AORN Recommended Practices on Retained Items Now Available

“The AORN ‘Recommended Practices for Prevention of Retained Surgical Items,’ formerly titled ‘Recommended Practices for Sponge, Sharp, and Instrument Counts,’ is now available for purchase as an eDocument,” reads an article in the current AORN Connections.

“This updated document provides recommendations for key practices to prevent the retention of sponges, towels, needles, instruments, fragments and other surgical items that could be left inside a patient after a surgical or invasive procedure is completed.” Read the full story, including links to purchase the document, here.

Staff Member in the Spotlight
Name: Doug Collier
City and State:  Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Current Job: Enrollments and Operations at NIFA
Background:  I have been around nursing all my life. My mother was an RN, NP, military and civilian nurse. She served in Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf War, ultimately retiring as a Commander Navy nurse and going to work at United Airlines. My Aunt Aggie was a head nurse in Mercy Hospital and the VA Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky; she’s now retired.

Before coming to NIFA, I was the Senior National Account Executive for the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN); there I was responsible for all exhibits, sponsorships, and advertising and a key part of the team that put together the AORN’s annual Congress, the largest surgical trade show in North America. I also helped develop other AORN conferences. I am extremely proud of the corporate partnerships we created to promote patient safety and best practices. In fact, this is how I got to know the folks at NIFA since they were AORN’s sole Educational Corporate Partner. As AORN’s representative, I always appreciated NIFA’s commitment to promote patient safety through education and our perioperative community in general. I knew it would be a good match for me to come and be part of the NIFA team. My new position here has given me the opportunity to continue working closely with perioperative nurses throughout the country, as well as the association, and to build on the partnerships I have helped nurture over the years.

Current Job:  My job entails everything from talking to potential RNFA students and answering their questions about NIFA’s program, to helping them through the enrollment process. In addition, I am looking forward to using my extensive AORN experience to make the new NIFA RNFA Summits the educational event of our RNFA students’ careers! On a personal note: I love “bring your dog to work” Fridays at NIFA headquarters.

Passions:  My family (my wife Sue and our son Luca). Hiking with our dogs. Music (I play keyboards in a metal/progressive rock band). Skiing (I ski 12 months of the year right here in Colorado; if you go to heights above 12,000 feet, you can find good snowfields even in the summer).

RNFA Tip: Circulator Map
Does your state have a RN Circulator Law? See AORN’s new map!