From the Editor


Last month we asked you, our readers, for gift ideas: “What’s one item you use in your work life (not necessarily in the OR) that would make a great gift for another OR nurse?” The response was educational but also humorous:


Gripsors: bandage scissors that have a serrated area inside the handle for gripping and turning things (like a stuck IV connection hub). They come in different sizes, and are the best thing to happen to bandage scissor design! (From Mary Fentress – thanks!)



And . . . only for those on your list who have a sense of humor:


Giant Microbes Plush Toys: Check out these giant, true-to-shape versions of such bad guys as MRSA, staph, toxic mold (shown), pneumonia and many more–and a few good guys like penicillin. The microbes are available in three sizes:  5-7 inch, 15-20 inches, and a mini size packed three microbes to their very own
“petri dish.”e5651521-0a79-4662-9408-c8f0e9d97393



Happy Holidays!
Julie Lancaster, Editor

 Graduate in the Spotlight


Name: Alice Dunn

Credentials:  RN, CNOR, RNFA

City and State: Taunton, Massachusetts

Student Status:  Completed the NIFA program in August, 2010 and graduated in September, 2010

 Current Job:  Works at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Massachusetts as an RNFA


Path to Becoming an RNFA: My career in the operating room began when I worked as an OR tech in the Army. I have always enjoyed working in the operating room. After my enlistment was up I went to school and became an LPN. I got married and started a family. I worked mostly in long-term care and agency nursing in order to stay home with my two children. I never loved my job and I longed to return to the OR. I knew my options were limited as an LPN, so 12 years later I went back to nursing school and became an RN. I knew that was my only way back to the OR.

Three years have passed in the blink of an eye. I have researched and studied for countless hours the AORN standards and many operative procedures in order to be the best circulator I can be. Once I became confident in my skills as a perioperative nurse, I decided to shake it up and become an RNFA. This past year has been a whirlwind. I passed my CNOR, finished the RNFA program and I am one semester away from my BSN.

Though the RNFA program was a lot to take on with everything else, I am glad that I did. I have learned so much during my clinical hours from the people I work with. I was lucky to have the best preceptors, Dr. Laurence Unger and Candy LeBlanc, CRNFA, who not only taught me the skills of a first assist, but also much-needed emotional support and reality checks!! I continue to learn from them and everyone else that I work with. 

Have to say I have the best job in the world! Most days I have to drag myself away at the end of the day. I can’t get enough learning opportunities in surgery. I love what I do. I think I am the only RNFA who gets excited when I hear the words “add on.” I am glad I took the opportunity to further my perioperative career.  

iPads in the OR 

“The iPad has received a significant amount of attention in the health care arena since its introduction only eight months ago,” begins an article by Felasfa M. Wodajo, MD, in the Nov. 28 Journal of Surgical Radiology.

“The attraction is fairly obvious; it is a portable, lightweight, powerful computing device with an intuitive interface and a large library of built-in applications. . . .We found that a simple X ray cassette sterile bag, ubiquitous in the OR, holds an iPad comfortably,” Wodajo continues. “Once the iPad is inserted into the plastic bag by the circulating nurse, the top can be cut off, folded back and clamped with a hemostat, allowing the iPad to be introduced safely into the sterile field.”

Wodajo goes on to describe the usage of the touch screen through the plastic bag while wearing gloves, the device’s potential for bypassing restrictive hospital networks to access remote files and office electronic medical records using cellular 3G networks, and usage of the iPad in accessing previous patient imaging as well as to quickly transfer interoperative patient images.

“There is still much to be learned and undoubtedly we will see the introduction of other devices with different strengths and weaknesses,” Wodajo concludes. “In my practice, using the resources described above, I have been able to maintain a portable image repository of my patients that has been very useful in the operating room, office, and in casual hallway discussions with colleagues.”


AORN’s 2010 Salary Survey Results Are In

Despite a depressed economy, surgical activity and base compensation for perioperative professionals both increased in 2010,” states Carina Stanton, AORN’s Senior News Editor, in the December 2010 issue of AORN Connections. Her article summarizes findings from AORN’s 2010 Salary Survey, which are published in the December 2010 issue of AORN Journal (the full issue is available to AORN members).


“While more than half (53%) of 2009 survey respondents reported a decrease in surgical activity at their facilities, only 38% of survey respondents reported a decline in surgical activity in 2010, and 43% (as compared to 14% in 2009) of 2010 survey respondents reported an increase in surgical activity,” Stanton says. She goes on to comment on salaries for staff nurses and VP/ director/ assistant director of nursing, and concerns nurses have expressed about being underpaid.

RNFA Tip: Use it or Lose it

Did you know that most facilities have allotted thousands of dollars for staff development (such as RNFA training) that must be used by December 31 – or be lost?


Approach your perioperative educator next week and find out if there are any educational funds left for the 2010 fiscal year with your name on them! Most facilities have a $2000-a-year educational allotment per employee. With NIFA’s formal RNFA program December Special for only $1845 you would have money left to spare! Call us for the details at 1-800-922-7747, press 1.