March 2018 • Volume 11, No. 3
From the Editor

Carotid endarterectomy is one of the most common types of vascular surgery in the US. It involves the removal of plaque from the carotid artery to treat stenosis (narrowing) of that artery, one of the risk factors for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death in the US.

Carotid endarterectomy appears as a stand-alone, add-on class in NIFA’s RNFA program, and it is our surgical focus this month. Scroll down for news and resources about the procedure, including an all-new crossword puzzle.

Other news includes an update from Mission to Heal, NIFA’s favorite charity.

Here at home, Admissions Director Tanya Nazarov has just given birth to her first child, a little boy named Carter. During Tanya’s maternity leave, Admissions Counselor Julia Johnson will be talking with many of you, so we’re featuring her in this month’s Spotlight.

Finally, you’ll find job listings and NIFA’s favorite links.



Julie Lancaster, Editor

Drawing above is from


Truck Designed to Haul Pershing Missiles Will Now Carry Mobile Operating Room

If you have been reading our newsletters for a while, you know that NIFA is a big supporter of Mission to Heal, a charity that delivers medical mission teams to faraway locations to serve “the bottom billion” of the world’s population. (See our Dec. 2017 issue for coverage of one of their 2017 missions, and see lots more at their website.)

This year Mission to Heal is developing two new mobile operating rooms. They will launch from Zimbabwe in June 2018, then cut across Central Africa and Anglophone [English- speaking], Lusophone [Portuguese-speaking], and Francophone [French-speaking] Africa. Many of the populations to be visited are extremely remote and roads are hazardous.

The trucks that will carry the mobile surgical units are being manufactured now in the Netherlands. This same model of diesel engine-powered truck, Tactical, 10-Ton, 8X8, MAN, was manufactured in the 1980s and dedicated to the transport and support of the Pershing II (MGM-31C) tactical missile and the Gryphon (BGM-109G) Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM). It is an inspiring swords-to-ploughshares twist that these mighty trucks will now deliver healing rather than weapons.

Mission to Heal’s new MSUs are still in production, so we don’t have video of them in action yet, but here are two videos showing this model of truck navigating some extreme road conditions.

watch video watch video

Carotid Endarterectomy Resources

Summary of the Procedure
The Cleveland Clinic: In-depth summary of a carotid endarterectomy from the patient’s perspective.

Studies evaluating the effectiveness of carotid endarterectomy on reducing stroke risk:

Update on Carotid Endarterectomy versus Carotid Artery Stenting, from the journal Cerebrovascular Diseases (Feb. 2017)

New Technologies for Carotid Stenting Show Promise, from “Cardiology Today’s ‘Intervention’ medical blog, Feb. 2018

Sacred Heart Hospital Announces New Technology to Reduce the Risk of Stroke. New approach involves temporarily reversing blood flow in the artery and diverting dangerous bits of plaque and blood clots into a filter. From the Pensacola News Journal.

Animated video from Covenant Health and Nucleus Medical Media explaining the carotid endarterectomy procedure. Watch video . . .

Narrated video of an actual procedure, featuring Wesley S. Moore, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Section of Vascular Surgery from UCLA Center for the Health Sciences. Watch video.

Although this YouTube channel is designed for surgical techs, not RNFAs, some of our readers may find it interesting. Here the channel owner shows her setup for a carotid endarterectomy. Watch video.

Carotid Endarterectomy Crossword Puzzle

The Nifa logo, and a link to the crosswordTest your knowledge of carotid artery anatomy and endarterectomy 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!

Staff Spotlight: Julia Johnson

Position:  Admissions Counselor

How long have you been with NIFA:  Since August 2016.    

Where did you grow up? The panhandle of Nebraska–Chadron area. I’ve been in the Denver area for almost 30 years. I’ve also lived in Dallas, Houston, Midland, and Los Angeles.

Educational Background: Bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in education, from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a master’s degree in geology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Work Background: I worked as an exploration geologist, then went into geologic software, where I did technical writing and quality control. My last job was as a support analyst for petrophysical software. I retired from oil and gas and started working with NIFA. These days I am using more of the skills I learned with my minor in education.

What do you do in your job? I talk to our prospective students and tell them about the program. I hear their stories and help them decide the best next move for their career. I really enjoy it; I get to talk to some of the best people in the world!

What do you do when you’re not working? In my spare time I enjoy hiking and camping.

Family? My husband Eric and I have two grown daughters. One is a hydrologist in Boulder and the other attends medical school in St. Louis.

I hear your husband proposed to you in an interesting way. Tell us about that. Eric was a long-distance swimmer and decided to swim the English Channel. This was in 1985; he set a world record for fastest swim from France to England. I was on a boat accompanying the swim. Halfway through, he paused for a moment and yelled, “Hey, Julia, will you marry me?” Unbeknownst to me, a friend on the boat had the ring and gave it to me. When we got to the shore there was an Associated Press reporter covering the swim and later there was a paragraph about the proposal in pretty much every newspaper in the country.

Jobs Front

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

NIFA – Office Hours

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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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