July 2017 • Volume 10, No. 7
From the Editor

After many months, much work, and extensive collaboration with other organizations, we are thrilled to announce a brand new course that targets the looming shortage in OR nurses: Nurse in Surgery Essentials (NISE™). Read more below.

Scroll down for news, a crossword puzzle on perioperative nursing and the new program, jobs we’ve collected for you and NIFA’s favorite links.

Our Graduate in the Spotlight this month is Sarah Sweatt, RN, MSN, ArNP-BC.

Scroll down for jobs we’ve collected for you and NIFA’s favorite links.

Enjoy your summer!


Julie Lancaster, Editor

New Course Takes on Perioperative Nursing Shortage

This month NIFA releases a brand new course that we’ve been working on since 2014: Nurse in Surgery Essentials™, or NISE™—a course that aims its sights directly on the perioperative nursing shortage.

It’s no secret that, as the baby boomer generation slides into retirement, health care is facing a serious nursing shortfall.  Nurses with decades of experience are leaving clinical practice. Nursing programs have long waiting lists due to the scarcity of nurse instructors. With fewer nurses available in the job market, healthcare facilities are looking to newly graduated nurses to fill positions within all areas, including the specialized area of the Operating Room.

“The old school of thought was that you had to be a floor nurse for a year to get a base of experience before entering a specialized area,” says NIFA’s Kimberly Jones, BSN, RN, CNOR, Principal Administrator of NISE™. “Now the ORs  are taking new graduates because of the nursing shortage and the training of these new graduates is increasing the workload of current staff.”

The new course is designed to help those new graduates, as well as experienced nurses who are new to the OR, make a smooth transition into the perioperative setting while fostering a collaborative learning experience between the novice and experienced team members. This concept not only allows students to learn in an organized setting, but provides them with the rationale needed to provide safe patient care.

NIFA is marketing the course to hospitals and surgical clinics rather than directly to RNs. The facility purchases the needed number of licenses and has up to four years to utilize them. (This is in contrast to two years for competitive programs.)

What’s different about the NISE™ program itself versus other programs?

“The student is held more accountable in this program,” Kim says. “We monitor student progress—if someone isn’t logging in to complete their assignments, we provide follow up and support them in getting through the program.” NIFA’s Administrators are experts in the perioperative setting and hold the title of CNOR®, and they are available weekly to assist the trainee with the course. “This monitoring and mentoring lighten the facility’s administrative load, which they appreciate,” Kim says.

“A student could be an experienced ICU or ER or med-surg nurse, but in the OR they’re still a novice,” she adds. “We take them to advanced beginner. To be an expert takes years.”

NISE™ Curriculum Difference
  • Course materials are based on the Job Analysis findings for the CNOR® credential, administered by the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI). The Job Analysis used a multi-method approach to identify the tasks and knowledge that are important to the competent performance of perioperative nurses. The job analysis process allowed for input from a representative group of CNORs and was conducted within the guidelines of professionally sound practice. The results of the job analysis are used by the CCI to develop the CNOR® Examination.
  • Questions developed from Berry and Kohn’s Operating Room Technique are utilized in the score report and are the sole property of the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI).
  • Competencies were developed by Dawn Whiteside, MSN, RN, CNOR, RNFA.  This course utilizes the content outline developed by CCI; however, CCI neither sponsors nor endorses training or educational opportunities in specialized practice areas or preparatory courses for any of the CCI examinations.
Benefits to Facilities and Students
  • Facilities have up to 4 years for license duration
  • Legally defensible evidence-based course
  • Facilities do not need to provide Administrators
  • Monitoring and feedback 40 hours per week by NIFA
  • Administrators provided 40 hours per week by NIFA
  • Mentors provided 40 hours per week by NIFA
  • Email and phone support provided 40 hours a week by NIFA

“With NIFA’s track record as the industry leader in RNFA training, we knew we were uniquely positioned to develop this program,” Kim says. “We are excited to offer it because we know how valuable it will be for nurses and their facilities.”

For more information, contact [email protected].

* CNOR® is a registered trademark of the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI).  All rights reserved.  CCI administers the CNOR® exam.

Perioperative Puzzle: NISE Crossword

Take a break from high tech with this month’s all-new crossword puzzle on the new NISE program.

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

Apps: PeriopSim

PeriopSim by Conquer Mobile is a simulation learning tool for clinicians who need to learn surgical instruments and procedures. It has been developed in collaboration with surgeons, scrub
nurses and medical educators to ensure accuracy and realistic learning outcomes. PeriopSim is designed to help clinicians practice skills safely before surgery.
Available for iPad.

Graduate Spotlight: Sarah Sweatt

Name: Sarah Sweatt

Credentials:  RN, MSN, ArNP-BC

Student Status: Graduated from NIFA’s RNFA program April 2017

City & State Colorado Springs, CO

Current Position:   Nurse Practitioner, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs, CO

Where did you get your RN degree?
Vanderbilt University, 2012. Acute care NP

Why did you choose perioperative nursing?
Opportunity arose to enter the OR when our organization underwent structural change. I’m looking forward to caring for my patients in all operative phases.

What is one of the scariest moments you’ve seen at the table?
One of our PAs dropped a radial graft on her first day. It actually worked out fine; we treated with more antibiotics and monitoring, and the patient did great. It was a good learning experience. In CT surgery, every day can be pretty scary.

What techniques or RNFA tricks did you learn from NIFA that you will use for life? 
One wound closure technique was really helpful: the loading and unloading of the needle when starting in the apex of the wound. Dean had a special technique for making sure you were completely closing the wound from top to bottom.

What advice would you give other perioperative nurses who wish to pursue RNFA?
Do it! Be willing to learn from everyone. Be humble.


Click here for the RNFA job postings we’ve collected for you this month.

NIFA – Office Hours

Monday-Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm

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.