From the Editor 

e5651521-0a79-4662-9408-c8f0e9d97393Robotics-assisted surgery is showing up everywhere these days–on the news, maybe in your institution, and even on TV dramas like ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Unlike industries in which robots pose a threat to employment, robotics-assisted surgery doesn’t necessarily reduce the number of personnel involved in a surgery–good news for RNFAs–but it can often reduce the invasiveness, risk and recovery time involved in many different procedures.

Read on for a few news stories about robotics-assisted surgery. And in this month’s student spotlight, NIFA graduate Angela Uhler talks about how her institution’s commitment to robotics is giving her new and fascinating work opportunities.

Julie Lancaster, Editor
Robotics-Assisted Surgery in the News

This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an approach developed by surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine using the da Vinci Surgical System (Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA) for certain TransOral otolaryngologic surgical procedures; click to read the Science Daily report.

In December, the Independent online reported on joint surgery successes in Great Britain. Also last month, the Science Daily announced a 3-D computerized modeling approach developed by a French team that will allow a robotic arm to adjust to heart and chest movement during surgery, allowing a surgeon to perform a procedure on a beating heart as if it were stationary.

Student in the Spotlight
Angela UhlerName: Angela L. Uhler
Credentials: RN, BSN, CNOR
City and State: York, PA
Current Job: Clinical Nurse Operating Room, Wellspan Health-York Hospital
Student Status: About halfway through clinical hours
Career Path: I grew up in York, PA, then went to Harrisburg Area Community College for my Associates in Nursing in 2000, and York College of PA for my BSN in 2003. I am attending Drexel University for my MSN in Educator track, and will graduate in 2011.

I started in the Operating Room by chance–I really knew nothing about it. I never thought I would like this type of nursing and eight years later, I love it! About three years ago, I decided to approach my nurse manager to apply for RNFA. I was thinking of changing my major to Nurse Practitioner and thought the RNFA would be a great asset. Currently, we have NPs who work alongside the resident program. They round, admit/discharge and assist in the OR.

When I did my training last July, it also was around the same time that a robotics program was just starting to emerge at our institution. My training through NIFA helped me to become the primary RNFA for the da Vinci robotics program at York Hospital. I was able to attend “wet labs” with these surgeons and practice on pigs prior to our first case. It’s amazing how my training through NIFA has helped me step up to this new challenge and feel confident to take on such an amazing responsibility.

Over the past year, we have done an amazing 200 robotic cases, and they thought were only going to do 50!  Our institution is using robotics for GYN-hysters, sacrocolpopexy, cancer cases, gallbladders, Nissens, LARs, GU-prostates and heart cases. I primarily do general/gyn cases and also have become an unofficial robotics coordinator for this specialty. We are on our way to become an epicenter for GYN procedures, one of only a few institutions across the country! WOW!

This spring, I will be traveling to California or Texas with another RNFA from our hospital to learn about doing thyroids with the da Vinci. We will get to do a “wet lab” with cadavers.

I am so excited for this new adventure and very lucky that RNFAs are involved in this from the beginning, since we lack a resident training program at this time for the da Vinci. I’m thankful to NIFA for helping me qualify to be the primary RNFA for this program.

RNFA Tip: CNOR and You

Areyou aware that you don’t need CNOR to enroll in NIFA’s RNFA Program 2.0?

You only need to be CNOR eligible and later have CNOR before graduation. (The CNOR requirement is waived for APNs.) About 50% of our RNFA students do not have CNOR at the time of enrollment. However, they are studying for the CNOR concurrently with their RNFA Program by using AORN’s “Prep for CNOR” course. That course is so good that AORN guarantees you will pass CNOR or receive a refund. Click the link above for details.