May 2021 • Volume 15, No. 5

From the Editor

There have been fewer surgical advances than usual since the pandemic started. See this article, in which a Johns Hopkins expert addresses the impact of the pandemic on the surgical innovation pipeline and ecosystem.

Nevertheless, amazing strides are being made, and in this issue we bring you news about a few technical innovations that are changing things in the OR.

By the way, next month’s issue is our annual Summer Reading issue, with books, movies and more of interest to perioperative nurses. If you’ve read or viewed anything nurse- or surgery-related lately, fiction or nonfiction, or seen a TED talk or heard a podcast—anything that would appeal to our readers—please send me your recommendations.

This month our Student in the Spotlight is Teresa Mendez, APRN, of West Palm Beach, FL.

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


Julie Lancaster, Editor


Regular readers of this e-newsletter are familiar with Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, NIFA faculty member. He’s the driving force behind Mission to Heal, a medical mission organization that helps to heal the sick and injured in the most remote regions of the world.

This month, Dr. Glenn is featured on a podcast called “Living a Life in Full,” with Dr. Chris Stout. The interview delves deep into topics like the way Dr. Glenn selects where to conduct missions; how he deals with corruption and safety; and how he manages the logistics of materials, trucks and staff. Why do 100% of his volunteers go on do more than one mission trip? What makes for a good volunteer? Take a listen while you’re driving or cooking dinner. Read more and access links to the podcast here . . .



The Zoom Boom – Pandemic Leads to Spike in Plastic Surgery

Most of us have spent more time looking at ourselves over this past year than usual as we’ve participated in online meetings for work, school or socializing. All that looking has prompted many folks to get that nose job or face lift they’ve been thinking about. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that 70% of doctors have seen an increase in plastic surgery patients during the pandemic. Read more…

Recent Tech Innovations

Smart Glasses for Knee Surgery

The FDA is clearing the way for orthopedic surgeons to use Augmented Reality glasses that overlay visual aids on their field of view. Using artificial intelligence algorithms, the glasses will become a hub for information exchange with connected tools, such as robotic arms. Read more…

3-D Bioprinting to Create Custom-Shaped Cartilage

Researchers at the Univeristy of Alberta are using 3-D bioprinting to create custom-shaped cartilage for use in restorative surgery, writes Ross Neitz in the University of Alberta publication, Folio. “The researchers used a specially designed hydrogel—a material similar to Jell-O—that could be mixed with cells harvested from a patient and then printed in a specific shape captured through 3-D imaging. Over a matter of weeks, the material is cultured in a lab to become functional cartilage,” Neitz wrote. Read more…

3-D Printing Tech Helps Surgeons Correct Birth Defect in Utero

A state-of-the-art in-utero procedure allows surgeons to correct a birth defect on developing babies inside the womb. But operating on a mother and her unborn child at the same time can be challenging and unpredictable.
To give their surgeons even more information ahead of surgery, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies is using MRI and ultrasound imaging along with 3D-printing technology to create a first-of-its-kind detailed model that allows surgeons to plan procedures ahead of time, identifying potential obstacles and reducing the risks of surgery. Read more…

Using Algorithms to Gauge Unconsciousness Under General Anesthesia

“Anesthestic drugs act on the brain but most anesthesiologists rely on heart rate, respiratory rate, and movement to infer whether surgery patients remain unconscious to the desired degree,” reads this report from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. “In a new study, a research team based at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital shows that a straightforward artificial intelligence approach, attuned to the kind of anesthetic being used, can yield algorithms that assess unconsciousness in patients based on brain activity with high accuracy and reliability.” Read more…

Student Spotlight: Teresa Mendez


Student Status
Current student in NIFA’s RNFA program

City & State
West Palm Beach, FL

Current Position
Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP

Where did you get your RN degree?
I got my BSN from South University (Royal Palm Beach, FL) and my MSN from Barry University (Miami Shores, FL).

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?
I’m an acute care NP with an interest in going into cardiothoracic surgery, so I decided to enroll with NIFA.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?
Trauma suture and chest tube suture / tying technique.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
It will forever elevate my career as an NP and APRN FA. It will be a career change for me.

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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