June 2018 • Volume 11, No. 6

From the Editor

Everybody in our perioperative working world seems to be working harder than ever—trying to keep up with more and more communications and respond to more and more demands. All that activity can be fun and rewarding, especially when we’re doing good work and having a positive impact on other people’s lives. But after a certain point, it takes a toll on our bodies and spirits.

That’s why summer can feel like such a welcome relief. For most people, the season itself carries a sense of “permission to relax,” thanks to all those years of summer vacations from school—whether you’re actually taking a vacation this summer or not.

Summer reading is a great way to sail away into an alternate reality for an hour or two (or more), get your mind off your responsibilities and allow your brain to reset.

Here are some book recommendations from some of our RN and RNFA friends and other folks. We’ve thrown in a few TV shows and podcasts, too.

Our featured Student in the Spotlight is Nancy Brownlee, MSN, FNP, BC, of Friendswood, TX.

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



Julie Lancaster, Editor

Summer Book List for RNFAs

Small Great Things (2018)

In this novel, Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than 20 years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Read more . . .

The World According to Garp (1978)

This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the son of Jenny Fieldsa feminist leader and nurse ahead of her times. The story presents the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son. It is a novel rich with “lunacy and sorrow”; yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust. In more than 30 languages, in more than 40 countrieswith more than 10 million copies in printthis novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: “In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.”
Read more . . .

The Healer’s War (1989)

Elizabeth Anne Scarborough’s “Healer’s War” is a classic novel of the Vietnam War. The author was a nurse in Vietnam during the war and she pulls some of her own personal experiences to create the main character, Lt. Kitty McCulley. McCulley, a young and inexperienced nurse thrown into a stressful and chaotic situation, is having a difficult time merging her duty to help and heal with the indifference and blatant racism of some of her colleagues and with the horrendously damaged soldiers.
Read more . . .

Cooked: An Inner City Nursing Memoir (2002)

In May 1971, an article in Look magazine provided an in-depth article about Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, calling it “a terrible place.” The largest public hospital in the country, it was located on Chicago’s dangerous gang-controlled and drug-infested West Side. Months later, the author of this memoir, then a naïve suburban teen, and one hundred other nursing students, began their training there, despite newspaper articles that warned that the hospital might close any day. “Cooked” provides an inside look at the 2,000-bed ghetto hospital, often referred to as a “19th-century sick house,” that provided health care to millions of Chicago’s poor.
Read more . . .

Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science (2003)

In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel’s edge. “Complications” lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is—uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.
Read more . . .

TV Shows and Podcasts

Nurse Jackie (2009-2015)

Emergency room nurse Jackie Peyton does everything she can to provide her patients with the best care possible while navigating the waters of a crumbling health-care system. But she has a secret that is increasingly difficult to keep from peopleshe relies on Vicodin and Adderall to get her through high-stress shifts at a New York hospital, where she isn’t above bending the rules to keep things running smoothly in the face of indifferent doctors, penny-pinching bean counters and miles of bureaucratic red tape.
Watch on Netflix . . .

The RN Podcast 

Produced by Marsha Battee, author of “The Bossy Nurse” blog, these chatty, conversational podcasts focus on helping nurses avoid burnout and create their own work lifestyle. If you are interested in novel approaches to work, maximizing your own freedom and autonomy, and being your own boss, this podcast is for you.
Listen on Stitcher . . .

Behind the Knife 

Behind the Knife is a podcast aimed for everyone interested in not only an in-depth look at the broad range of surgical topics, but a “behind the scenes” look at the interesting, controversial and humanistic side of surgery from some of the giants in the field. Come along with Kevin Kniery, Jason Bingham, John McClellan and Scott Steele on a journey that explores all the disciplines of general surgery in this informal discussion and interview format. 
Learn more . . .

Student Spotlight: Nancy Brownlee


City & State
Friendswood, TX

Current Position

I work for the Department of Urology at the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. I am a family nurse practitioner with a specialty in urology. 

Where did you get your RN degree?
BSN Houston Baptist Univ.

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?
A friend/colleague encouraged me and I already had expressed interest.

What is the funniest or scariest moment you’ve ever seen at the table?  
Surgeon (with mask on) said, “Here is left ovary,” and I thought he said “leftover” for pathology.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA this week that you will use for life?
Mount/dismount for subcutaneous to decrease redness of open bowel closure. The trick or treat house was an excellent way to remember how to suture.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?  
More valuable, marketable in any specialty. That says it all!

Jobs Front

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

NIFA – Office Hours


Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm

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, 2016 (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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