December 2022 • Volume 16, No. 12

From the Editor

One of our favorite holiday traditions here at NIFA is to bring our readers’ attention to a nonprofit organization we support wholeheartedly: Mission to Heal (M2H). Mission to Heal is a global medical missions agency that heals underserved people, providing surgical care and training local practitioners in the most remote and needy areas of the world.

Many of you have met M2H’s founder, Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, a faculty member at NIFA. Dr. Glenn, whose credentials include MD, AB, BS, MD, MA, DTMH, MPH, MA, and FACS, is also Professor of Surgery, Professor of International Medical Education, and Professor of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University. See a story in our October issue about Dr. Glenn and tune in to two recent videos in our Afterhours Seminars series, in which he discusses tropical medicine and much more, here.

Now, after three years of pandemic delays and cancellations, M2H’s missions are starting up again next month, with missions to Kenya during the first four months of the year and missions to Uganda planned for the summer. The organization needs volunteers! Read on for stories from some of the NIFA graduates who have accompanied Dr. Glenn on past missions, and ask yourself if the time has come for you to help, too.

Although most of the treatments for COPD involve lifestyle changes (such as support to stop smoking) or nonsurgical approaches (such as inhalers), some cases call for surgery. That’s what brings it into focus for our Surgical eNews. In this issue, we’ll take a look at COPD, its related surgeries, and current news in the field.

And scroll down for job openings (here in the states) we’ve collected for you, as well as NIFA’s favorite links.

Happy New Year from all of us at NIFA and best wishes for a vibrant and health-filled 2023!


Julie Lancaster, Editor

Mission to Heal Update

This month we received this update from Samuel Jangala in the Mission to Heal office

With the return to missions in the new year, our goal is to commit to three countries on a three-year cycle. This means we’ll keep coming back to the same communities and build a network of health care centers that can each provide the life-saving surgical care their communities need. Through these continued relationships, we can reduce barriers that underserved people face – lack of transportation, money, time off from work, childcare – and bring accessible surgical care to their own neighborhoods.

Mission to Heal is excited to re-launch our Kenya missions with Winds of Change Foundation in the Lake Turkana region next month. Our focus will be to build lasting relationships with the health centers we serve in and continue to bring an educational and transformational experience to the medical professionals who work there. If you or someone you know would like to join Dr. Geelhoed in Kenya in 2023, check out the mission dates we have coming up!

Thank you for your continued support of Mission to Heal as we bring sustainable surgical care to the most remote regions of the world.

Volunteer for a Mission

Feeling inspired by these stories of what Mission to Heal is doing? Want to give a gift that matters, make some memories, and get some tangible medical or surgical skills? Dr. Glenn needs volunteers!

For this year’s missions, M2H is in need of a variety of participants – some medical students, some medical professionals, and a few non-medical volunteers. Whatever your background or expertise, you are invited to apply.

  • Yes, there is a cost to you, but past volunteers overwhelmingly report they find the rewards well worth the investment.
  • Scroll down for stories from some NIFA grads who have accompanied Dr. Glenn on past missions.
  • Read Tips for Traveling with Dr. Geelhoed from some past NIFA volunteers.
  • Check out M2H’s FAQ page to learn more about the planned 2023 missions and to apply.

Past NIFA Volunteers

Click below to read stories from just a few of the numerous NIFA graduates who have participated in past missions with Mission to Heal.

Erin Griffeth, RN, RNFA, CNOR
Jan. 2014 mission in Nigeria

“The poverty is right there, and still people are really great and there’s a lot of love and a lot of appreciation.”

Read more . . .




Tina Modillas, CRNFA
2017 mission to the Philippines

“The people, the villagers, were extremely, extremely nice and very grateful that we were there. Some of them walked for days just to get there.”

Read more . . .




Leenta Nel, RN, CNOR, RNFA
2012 mission to Central African Republic

“The day we converted a wire coat hanger into a catheter introducer. This incident explains how you have to think laterally: you go with what you have, your knowledge and your instincts.”

Read more . . .



Amber Rodriguez, RNFA
Summer 2013 mission to Ghana

“The people were extremely happy we were there. A radio station had broadcast that we were going to be there and on the first day there were 300 people waiting for us.”

Read more . . .




Can’t Volunteer? Consider Donating Directly.

If you can swing even a small contribution, please consider donating to Mission to Heal. Two billion people worldwide have no access to safe, surgical care. Where else will you find an organization as passionate about surgery as you are, that is dedicated to healing the sick and injured, while training local practitioners in the most remote and needy areas of the world?

Donate to Mission to Heal here.

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.

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