June-July 2023 • Volume 17, No. 6

From the Editor

As we put together this issue, I envision you at the beach, relaxing on a well shaded, comfy chair with a tall iced tea on the little table at your side. Or perhaps you’re in a cool, high-ceilinged room with a potted palm and a ceiling fan rotating lazily. You sigh with pleasure as you plunge into your book, letting it whisk you away from your cares for a little while.

The truth is probably more frenetic, like my own usual reading pattern: 30 minutes while on a stationary bike, 10 or 15 minutes while waiting for someone to arrive or something to finish cooking, and right before falling asleep at night. Longer segments if I’m eating alone, or if there’s a bus, train or plane trip. But even chopped up, a good story or nonfiction work can transport us away from our day-to-day world, and that helps give our lives balance.

This past year I got around to reading Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone (2010), which we recommended in 2021. It was remarkably captivating and well written. Verghese’s brand new “epic melodrama of medicine,” The Covenant of Water, is listed below and is on my list at the library when it becomes available.

Besides that rather massive novel, our book suggestions include one shorter historical novel and two nonfiction books. We’ve also suggested some movie ideas, podcasts and TED Talks. Let us know if you try any of our recommendations, and we’d love to hear your suggestions, too.

In the Spotlight this month is NIFA’s Director of Education, Jim Stobinski, CNOR, CSSM(E) and CNAMB(E). He was working in an auto factory in Toledo, OH, when one lightbulb moment shifted his path toward what has turned out to be a three-decades-plus nursing career.

And, as always, scroll down for jobs we’ve collected for you as well as NIFA’s favorite links.


Julie Lancaster, Editor

Photo: Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels


The Covenant of Water

Abraham Verghese
May 2023

A multi-generation epic of love, faith and medicine, set in Kerala. “In the spirit of his breakout novel, Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese offers an epic melodrama of medicine . . . Most remarkably, this depth of emotion comes across even in descriptions of surgery, which one would expect to be faceless and technical, if not merely sickening. But not so in the taut depiction of a skin graft for a burn victim or a trepanning procedure to relieve a man’s swollen brain of fluid.”—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal. “One of the best books I’ve read in my entire life. It’s epic. It’s transportive . . . It was unputdownable!”—Oprah Winfrey, OprahDaily.com
Read more . . .

Taking Care: The Story of Nursing and Its Power to Change Our World

Sarah DiGregorio
May 2023

A sweeping cultural history of nursing from the Stone Age to the present. “DiGregorio’s storytelling is pitch-perfect . . . . This is a brilliant book, and DiGregorio is a beautiful writer.” – New York Times Book Review
Read more . . .

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery

Henry Marsh
June 2016

Leading neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets, and the moments of black humor that characterize a brain surgeon’s life. Named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post.
Read more . . .

The Lieutenant’s Nurse

Sara Ackerman
March 2019

Set in the vibrant tropical surroundings of the Pacific, The Lieutenant’s Nurse is an evocative, emotional WWII story of love, friendship and the resilient spirit of the heroic nurses of Pearl Harbor.
Read more . . .


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

She’s not an OR nurse, but Nurse Rached stands as one of the most indelible portrayals of a nurse in film history. If you have never watched this movie, you owe it to yourself to see it. If you have seen it, watch it again, in tribute of the actress who created that role, Louise Fletcher, who died last year . . . or for the pure pleasure of seeing the brilliant, mid-career Jack Nicholson in action. Based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 best-selling novel, the film won all five of the top Academy Awards: for best picture, actor, actress, director and screenplay. Read more . . .

The Good Nurse (2022)

True crime thriller: an infamous caregiver is implicated in the deaths of hundreds of hospital patients. Starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne. Read more . . .



Dr. Death

True crime series focusing on egregious cases of medical malpractice. Three seasons to date. Listen here . . .

Surgery Sett

From the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin. The host, a transplant surgeon and occasional standup comedian, explores surgical topics with interesting people, with some humor mixed in. Previous episodes include “Innovating in the Face of Racism”; “Personifying Patients”; “Pediatric Transport; and “Past, Present and Future of Transplant.” Listen here . . .


Why plague doctors wore beaked masks

5 min.

A 5-minute illustrated history of medical approaches used during outbreaks of the Plague in Europe in the 6th, 14th and 19th centuries.
Watch now . . .

How mRNA medicine will change the world

18 min.

The secret behind medicine that uses messenger RNA (or mRNA) is that it “teaches” our bodies how to fight diseases on our own, leading to groundbreaking treatments for COVID-19 and, potentially one day, cancer, the flu and other ailments that have haunted humanity for millennia. Presented by Melissa J. Moore, Moderna’s chief scientific officer.
Watch now . . .

In the Spotlight: Jim Stobinski

[The (E) stands for emeritus status; Jim helped develop these credentials.]

City & State
Denver, CO

Current Position
Joined NIFA as Director of Education on March 30, 2023

Degrees include an AA in Liberal Arts, a Diploma of Nursing, BSPA, BSN, MA, MSN and PhD. Click here for full list, including the institutions they came from.

Work Background
• 34 years of service in the Navy Nurse Corps, including many years as an OR Manager
• 11+ years with CCI (Competency and Credentialing Institute), starting as Director of Education and Test Development, eventually serving as CEO.
• Currently also an adjunct professor at two universities: Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Nova Southeastern University, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL

???Path to Surgical Nursing

Jim grew up in rural southern Michigan. In 1973, while still in high school, he enlisted in the Army and, shortly after graduation, reported for duty. It was the Vietnam era, but he did not serve in Vietnam; instead he worked as a military policeman in West Germany and at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan.

After his full-time service, still working as an Army Reservist, he moved with his wife to Toledo, OH, and got a job in an auto factory. When their baby daughter needed urgent surgery at 10 days old, Jim found himself spending time in the hospital and becoming intrigued by the hospital workplace. It was way more interesting than the auto factory.

His lightbulb moment happened while chatting with one of the nurses, a girl he’d gone to high school with named Rose, who was doing pediatric care. She said, “Jim, give it a try. You might be well suited.”

Read the whole story…

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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