MARCH 2020 • Volume 13, No. 3

From the Editor

Unless you’ve been living on a remote mountaintop, or shielded from world news as a requirement for your role on a German reality TV show, you have no doubt heard enough about COVID-19 to last a lifetime.

It’s been hitting close to home in our community, with most hospitals temporarily stopping elective surgeries and some pausing our students’ internships. Economic uncertainty is stalking everyone we know, right along with health concerns. We know you’re doing your best to keep your family safe while staying sane and healthy yourself. Some of you have even been pulled into the front lines of coronavirus testing and treatment.

So we’ll keep this short. We just want to reach out and embrace our community in this alarming time.

On the positive side, COVID-19 lockdowns are prompting people to connect with each other in new ways. More free time means time to read, think, and take advantage of distance learning opportunities.

The natural world is getting a breather from humans’ over-consumption. Dogs and cats are reveling in extra time with their homebound people. And there’s never been more appreciation for health care workers (see below).

Continue to be vigilant, and know that this crisis is temporary. We are all in this together.

Julie Lancaster, Editor


It’s been a busy few weeks here at the NIFA office. Or, rather, in our individual homes—we are all working from home, except for a skeleton (so to speak) crew producing simulation supplies in our manufacturing warehouse.

We’re rescheduling our April and May SutureStar™ workshops that were scheduled for Denver, CO, Columbus, OH, and Manhattan, NY. Admissions and Student Support are all working out of their individual houses, with rollover capabilities for our 12 phone lines. We’re maintaining normal NIFA work hours: Mon-Thurs. 8-4 and Fri. 8-3.

Our Community 

Earlier this week, we asked some of our current students and graduates how they are being used by their facilities during the COVID-19 crisis. 

  • For some people, there have been no significant changes in their role at this time; their RNFA services are being used as usual.
  • Most people said that their facility has stopped doing elective surgeries and is only doing urgent/emergent cases at this time, so their workload has been drastically cut.  
  • In some cases, RNFAs are being given the choice of staying home and using vacation time or working in other departments. Some respondents had not been given the opportunity to float to other departments; others have volunteered for the labor pool but hadn’t been called yet. 
  • One student said, “My facility is currently still using the RNFA services here, however, not at the full capacity as before the pandemic. We are taking the opportunity, as a group, to train facility staff as time permits.”
  • Some of our students and grads have been working from home on other tasks, as they are immunocompromised or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 
  • One student has received med staff temp privileges that allow first assisting in surgeries despite not having been able to finish all the coursework modules yet. 

So goes the battle. Keep us posted.

Photo: Statue in the garden of the Galt Museum & Archives, Lethbridge, Canada. Photo: Graham Ruttan,

Appreciation for Healthcare Workers

Crocks, manufacturer of molded-resin shoes popular among healthcare workers, has announced its “Free Pair for Healthcare” program, in which the company is prepared to donate up to 10,000 pairs a day to healthcare workers. The duration of the giveaway is subject to inventory levels and demand.

“Every day, at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific, the Crocs’ website will begin taking orders for one pair of shoes per healthcare worker from select classic clog or Crocs At Work styles up to a daily limit of 10,000 pairs. (Shoes in these two categories usually retail from $34.99 to $59.99),” writes Adam Tschorn of the Los Angeles Times. “Once that number of orders has been reached, a notification advises visitors to return the next day and try again,” Read more . . .

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is giving out free dozens of doughnuts (Original Glazed®) on Mondays to healthcare pros, from National Doctor’s Day, 3/30, through National Nurse’s Week, 5/11. (U.S. shops only.) Just go to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru on a Monday, tell them what you need, and show them your employer badge.

Other companies, from Starbucks to Hertz to Uber, are also offering freebies for healthcare professionals. Here’s a website that is keeping an updated list of them. Read more . . .

And finally, for the past two weeks, residents in Italy and other European countries have stood on their balconies or outside their doors at 8:00 p.m. to applaud and cheer for healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19. See video from . . .  and another video from Now the practice is spreading spread (so to speak) to the U.S. Here is a scene from Atlanta. You may not be able to witness one of these events in person but you can do it remotely if you would like an uplifting reminder that you’re appreciated.

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:

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, 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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