December 2018 • Volume 11, No. 12

From the Editor

The Spirit of Giving is in the air, as advertisements strewn throughout your day like so much holiday tinsel will tell you.

Don’t get me wrong—we love traditional gift-giving. But NIFA’s Annual Giving Issue takes the theme of giving up a notch as we report on Mission to Heal (M2H), NIFA’s favorite charity, and the amazing work they are doing through medical missions. M2H delivers surgical services and—even more important—surgical expertise to some of the neediest areas in the world. 

“Our task is indigenization of health care skills,” says Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, founder of Mission to Heal and a faculty member at NIFA. “Our ‘JOB ONE’ is to work ourselves out of the job.” The photo above (courtesy Erin Griffeth) shows an M2H team working in a hospital in Nigeria with local medical personnel observing.

Our NIFA graduate in the spotlight is Erin Griffeth, RN, RNFA, CNOR, of Ithaca, NY. Erin worked as an RNFA on an M2H medical mission to Nigeria in 2014. Her report conveys some of the amazing experiences she had there.

Mission to Heal is in need of RNFA volunteers! Read down to learn how to apply. And/or consider making a donation.

We also tell you about a smaller charitable project connected with M2H that NIFA undertook this year.

Finally, scroll down to find RNFA jobs that we’ve gathered for you this month, along with NIFA’s favorite links.

NIFA’s best wishes to you and yours for a joyful holiday season.


Julie Lancaster, Editor

Mission to Heal Update

Mobile surgery unit 2 is a big truck with solar panels on the sideIt has been a busy year for Mission to Heal

A year ago the organization was fundraising for its Mobile Surgical Unit 2, MSU2. Now that unit has been fully funded and it’s finished production in the Netherlands. It consists of two military-grade vehicles that carry operating suites in their trucks. They’re not only air-conditioned but they also produce solar power and purify water; they’re outfitted to create a sterile surgical environment for mobile surgery in the most remote places. Take a tour of the MSU2 in this two-minute video

While the MSU2 was being developed, Dr. Glenn Geelhoed and team carried out a medical mission in the Philippines early in 2018. Then, in July, a 25-member M2H team traveled to Mongolia, where they took the train as far north and as far south from the capital as they could go before running into the borders, visiting many different villages. 
The inside of MSU2 is very clean. It has two surgical beds
The now-complete MSU2 will have its first mission in Africa early next year, traveling to multiple nations, starting with Somaliland, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Go to Mission to Heal to read more about their work.

Top Left photo: Tristan Brailey, Overland Journal
Bottom Right photo: Bliss Mobil

M2H Volunteer: Erin Griffeth

There is a long history of NIFA graduates helping out Dr. Glenn and Mission to Heal. Erin Griffeth, RN, RNFA, CNOR, of Ithaca, NY, participated in a 2014 medical mission to Nigeria with M2H. In this extended interview, she talks about goiters, village clinics, and learning how to operate without suction and cautery.

Read more . . .

Dr. Glenn NEEDS Volunteers!

Feeling inspired by these stories of what Mission to Heal is doing? Want to give a gift that that matters, make some memories, and get some tangible medical or surgical skills? Perhaps it’s time that you go on a mission yourself. Dr. Glenn needs volunteers!

If you’re still on the fence, but want to be convinced, watch this speech by the indomitable Dr Glenn. He’s the founder of Mission to Heal, a NIFA faculty member, a senior Fulbright scholar, a faculty member at George Washington University Medical School, ran 100 miles in Africa with Nelson Mandela (as well as 150+ other marathons), is a truly original thinker, and is one of the most inspiring humans you will ever meet. 

A Gift for One Family 

Gerry Lopena and his familyAfter many years of knowing Dr. Glenn Geelhoed and supporting Mission to Heal, in January 2018 NIFA’s CEO embarked on his first M2H mission, to the Philippines. One of his acquaintances on the mission turned into a good friend and NIFA’s CEO extended a very special gift to him and his family this year. 
Read more . . .

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:

ACS 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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