MAY 2020 • Volume 13, No. 5

From the Editor

A collective, though tentative, sigh of relief can be felt worldwide as many hospitals have begun in recent weeks to open up and allow at least some elective surgeries following cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the cancellations were for the best of reasons—to preserve supplies of PPE, protect against overwhelm at hospitals, protect patients and prevent spread of the virus—they have taken a huge toll in the well-being of patients and medical staff and the financial well-being of hospitals. In this issue we take a look at how it’s going as hospital systems start to tackle the backlog.

Our Graduate in the Spotlight is Danielle Hinojosa, CNOR, RN, from Tyler, TX.

Scroll down for our jobs list and NIFA’s favorite links.

Hang in there!

Julie Lancaster, Editor

The Costs of Cancellations

A study published in the British Journal of Surgery estimated that a total of more than 28 million adult elective operations would be cancelled or postponed worldwide during the 12 weeks of peak disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more . . .

Jacquelyn Corley, M.D., a neurosurgery resident physician, explores the situation in an article on As our readers well know, “elective” doesn’t mean “frivolous”; for some patients postponements have meant progression of a disease or serious injury. Corley looks at the question of how hospitals can catch up with the backlog of surgical cases. Read more . . . 

Cautiously Reopening 

This site offers updated information on the governors’ orders from various states regarding “stay at home” orders and prohibition on elective procedures. As we go to press, it reads, “Of the states that had elective procedure prohibitions in place, all but Hawaii, Michigan and South Dakota have eased these restrictions and are allowing elective procedures, as long as certain requirements and safety procedures are in place.” Read more . . .

As two health networks in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, enter Phase I of a staged approach to rescheduling elective procedures, they’re grappling with a province-wide directive to keep 15% of beds empty for a COVID-19 surge; patients taking critical care beds who are ready to be discharged but waiting for long-term care or rehab placement; patients who are afraid to come to the hospital during the pandemic; and new distancing and PPE protocols. Read more . . .

In this article from National Public Radio, hospitals in Connecticut tackle their backlog of patient cases and decisions about who gets priority for rescheduled surgeries, as well as the economic costs of the surgery cancellations. Read more . . .

And just off the press, this article from the Chicago Tribune examines a similar process for the hospitals in Lake County, IL. “Getting this right is really important because many patients are scared they’ll contract COVID-19 if they come to the hospital,” said Dr. Gregory Caronis, chief of surgery at Advocate Condell Medical Center. “I hope people realize it’s OK to be fearful, but we understand a lot more about this than we did three months ago.” Read more . . .

Student Spotlight: Danielle Hinojosa


Student Status
Graduated from NIFA’s RNFA program in February 2020

City & State
Tyler, TX

Current Position
My position is CNOR circulating nurse in the CVOR at Christus Trinity Mother Frances and now RNFA.

Where did you get your RN degree?  
Northeast Texas Community College

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?  
I have been a CST since 2005 and wanted to help my team more.

What is the scariest moment you’ve ever seen at the table? 
When the patient TOD had been called and 3 minutes later they came back to life, moving and fighting.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?  
I learned so much, but the ones that stood out the most were the figure-eights x 4, the superficial deep, lock loop, and the confidence that I can do it if I put my mind to it.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
I am super excited to what the future holds for me now in this position and just hope I can help save more lives and assist my surgeons in the surgical cases.

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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