August 2022 • Volume 16, No. 8

From the Editor

It’s Neurosurgery awareness month, as sponsored by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

We’re taking this opportunity to look at a topic our newsletter hasn’t covered before: pediatric neurosurgery. Surgery is involved in treating a range of neurological conditions in children, infants, and even fetuses. Those conditions include epilepsy, spina bifida, cerebrovascular diseases, and many others. In this issue we provide general references and videos on some of these surgeries.

Also, you may want to check out a newly released limited TV series, streaming on Apple TV+, that is getting good reviews: Five Days at Memorial. It follows doctors and nurses at the intensive care unit of a New Orleans hospital who struggle to treat patients during Hurricane Katrina when the facility is without power for five days. Cherry Jones, one of the lead actors, said in an interview on, “It’s about everything that is smacking us in the face right now, from racial and economic injustice, to climate change, to the fact that our healthcare workers are now our frontline soldiers.” There seems to be a lot of online debate about the medical ethics and decisions portrayed in this show.

Our Student in the Spotlight is Chelsea Shepherd, FNC-C, of Memphis, TN. 

And scroll down for jobs we’ve collected for you and NIFA’s favorite links.

Take care,

Julie Lancaster, Editor

Photo: iStock


Reported 8/15/22: Breakthrough technique that allows scientists to map tumors non-invasively and at an unprecedented resolution.
* Article in consumer publication
* The actual scientific study published in Nature

Reported 8/18/22: Scientists at a biotech firm have discovered a genetic link that may explain why some people experience more pain and early failure with joint replacements: a significant proportion of patients carry a genotype that puts them at greater risk of developing sensitivity to Cobalt chrome, a material used in about 70% of implants globally. The firm has developed an algorithm that profiles a patient’s risk.
Read more on . .

Pediatric Neurosurgery

Overview Resource

A Mayo Clinic overview of the multidisciplinary clinics and groups at that institution and some of the latest treatments and technology available.
Read more . . .


A pediatric neurosurgeon reflects on his intense job and the post-Roe landscape, on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Read this in article form or listen to it as a podcast.
Read more . . .


Fetal Surgery for Myelomeningocele
Jason Chu, MD, an assistant professor of clinical neurological surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, discusses fetal surgery for the repair of myelomeningocele, a severe form of spina bifida, including novel surgical techniques designed to improve patient outcomes.

Watch video . . .

Brainstem Tumor – Infratentorial Supracerebellar–Telovelar Transventric Approach
A surgery conducted on a 7-year-old girl by Guillermo Aldave, MD, PhD, from Texas Children’s Hospital.

Watch video . . .


Resection of Pediatric Chordoma
Stanford neurosurgeon, Dr. Juan Fernandez Miranda, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. David Hong, and Head & Neck surgeon, Dr. Peter Hwang, resect a pediatric chordoma that has invaded the brainstem. Narrated by Dr. Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Surgical Director of Stanford’s Brain Tumor, Skull Base, and Pituitary Centers.

Watch video . . .

Student Spotlight: Chelsea Shepherd


Student Status
Currently working through internship portion of NIFA’s RNFA program

City & State
Memphis, TN

Current Position
Neurosurgery FNP & First Assist

Where did you get your RN degree?
Delta State University, Cleveland, MS

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?
I enjoy the multifaceted approach to advanced practice nurses being utilized in the OR. It is like having three jobs in one. I enjoy the time I spend with patients in the clinic and hospital. But I really thrive in the OR. Surgery brings together two of my greatest passions—Art and Science.

What is a memorable moment you’ve had at the table?
Being told I was “too green” to assist a particular neurosurgeon, and then being scheduled on a 6-hour case with him the very next morning. He announced, “Great job, Chelsea,” when the case was complete. Everyone in the room was surprised. The surgeon’s PA was in the room by that point and jokingly said that he has never received a “good job” after a case.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?
Continuous subcuticular suture. I am looking forward to providing this technique to my patients for a more aesthetically pleasing closure.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
I have increased confidence in the OR as a result of this course. Because nursing is a reflection of who I am as a person, this confidence will naturally flow over into my day-to-day life.

Jobs Front

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

NIFA – Office Hours

Monday-Thursday, 8:00am – 5:00pm
Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm

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, 2020 (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.

Copyright © 2022, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

12354 E Caley Avenue
Centennial, CO 80111