January 2019 • Volume 12, No. 1

From the Editor

We’re barreling into the New Year and that means in just a few short weeks we’ll collide head on with the most watched event in America: The Super Bowl. While football can leave viewers in a state of confusion and discomfort (if their team loses), that’s nothing compared to what the players go through.

In a study published in the journal JAMA, nearly 90% of college and NFL players have brain damage, specifically in the form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). While the NFL has been improving safety for players, concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are still a major issue with the sport at all levels.

Perhaps one of our readers will perform surgery on an NFL superstar. However, football players aren’t the only people who experience TBIs, so this month we’re putting on our surgical helmet and tackling the issue ourselves.

After a brief detour for a NIFA workplace story, you will find below some news articles and videos on TBI.  Our Graduate in the Spotlight is Anne Foster, RN, CNOR, RNFA, from Nashville, TN. And scroll down for RNFA job listings and NIFA’s favorite links.


Julie Lancaster, Editor

NIFA In-House News

Lola is a cute little dog.NIFA is a company full of animal lovers and there was a time when employees were encouraged to bring their dogs to work at NIFA’s home office near Denver. We were a much smaller company then; having multiple animals around now would be problematic.

But recently little Lola, the Chihuahua-Rat Terrier mix who lives with Student Support Specialist Nancy Foust, got a reprieve. The diminutive and well-behaved Lola has been given special dispensation to accompany Nancy on work days and spends many happy hours in her little bed in Nancy’s office.

Surgical News

FDA Approves Concussion Test, EyeBOX

Using eye tracking, Oculogica has created a non-invasive tool for detecting concussions. Over 2.5 million head injuries make their way annually to the ER in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this could potentially save lives and brain cells. Read more . . .
photo: Oculogica.com

Brain Vital Signs Capture Undetected Impairments

Football isn’t the only sport that has a history of hits to the head. Hockey has its share of bonks to the noggin as well. Researchers have been using a brainwave monitoring system on players to point out undiagnosed impairments due to brain injuries. Read more . . . 
photo: MedicalExpress.com

Decompressive Craniectomy

Not many surgical options are available for non-penetrating TBIs, but one procedure is commonly used when swelling of the brain is likely to cause further injury: decompressive craniectomy / craniotomy, in which a portion of the skull is temporarily removed. Here are two articles: one about the procedure and another about its effectiveness in the long term.


Bilateral Frontotemporal Decompressive Craniectomy (Kjellberg Procedure) – In this AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) video, faculty from the Columbia University Medical Center Department of Neurological Surgery lead the viewer through a step-by-step rundown on the procedure. 
Watch video . . .

The Canadian Concussion Centre Workshop Night 1 – An in-depth presentation about the results of and treatments for concussion.
Watch video . . .

Pneumatic Tourniquet Crossword Puzzle

Test your knowledge of Pneumatic Tourniquet procedures with this month’s all-new crossword puzzle.

When you’re ready to check your answers, follow this link to see how well you did. Good luck!


Graduate Spotlight: Anne Foster

Anne Foster wearing a baseball cap standing on a cliff by the seaName:   Anne Foster

Credentials:   RN, CNOR, RNFA

Student Status:   Graduated from NIFA’s RNFA program in July 2018

City: Nashville, TN

Current Position:
RN,CNOR – St Thomas West Hospital, TN 

Where did you get your RN degree? 
Florida, Broward College

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?
At first, the hours fit my family’s needs best, but I came to love the work and wouldn’t do anything else.

What is the funniest or scariest moment you’ve ever seen at the table?  
The best stories are not suitable in a public forum (grin & wink).    

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA this week that you will use for life?
Buried subcuticular knot

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
I know it will make me more versatile and marketable.

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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