From the Editor
Julie Lancaster NIFA’s RNFA Instructor Dr. Glenn Geelhoed has been featured on Fox News! Scroll down for a link that will take you to the video.

This month’s Student Spotlight features two RNFA students from Casper, Wyoming, who attended the July 2011 SutureStar Summit. They wanted to be featured–together!

And speaking of our popular RNFA SutureStar Summits, we’re bringing them to you in 2012. Check out the home page at to learn how close we’re coming to you in 2012.

And finally, sincere thanks to you from all of us here at NIFA for being part of our community. May you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Take care,
Julie Lancaster, Editor
Improve Surgical Skills by Playing Video Games?

Video games are accused of rotting the minds of today’s youth and diverting them from more important pursuits. But a new book reports on some studies that show otherwise–especially when it comes to surgical skills.

The book is I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work & Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted by Nick Bilton, lead technology writer for the New York Times. In one chapter, he describes a study in which surgeons and surgical residents were ranked according to their frequency of playing video games, then tested using a laparoscopic surgery simulator.

“On average, the serious game players were 33 percent faster and made 37 percent fewer errors than their colleagues who didn’t have prior video-game experience,” he writes. After citing another study, this one using various Wii games (practicing Wii Tennis did not improve surgeons’ skills, but Wii Marble Mania, which involves subtle hand movements, did), he adds, “These studies consistently show that playing video games improves hand-eye coordination and increases one’s capacity for visual attention and spatial distribution, among other skills.”

You can read the chapter at And then go play a video game, with a clear conscience.

Student Spotlight: Stephanie Houck

215Name: Stephanie Houck
Credentials: RN, BSN

Student Status: Current Student, RNFA program
City and State: Casper, WY
Current Job: Wyoming Medical Center, Circulating and scrub RN in OR
Path to RNFA: I always knew the medical field was for me.  I’m a very scientific-minded person and fascinated by anatomy and physiology.  I received my BSN from the University of Wyoming and currently work in the operating room–I love to learn about surgery. I decided to become an RNFA because I love to scrub into surgery and wanted to expand in this role.  It is another challenge to learn.

Student Spotlight: Sheena Snyder 

Name: Sheena Snyder
Credentials: RN (BSN in Fall 2011)

Student Status: Current Student, RNFA program

City and State: Casper, WY
Current Job: Wyoming Medical Center, RN, Robotics/Urology Coordinator
Path to RNFA: My mom and my aunts are both RNs and I have always loved the medical field. I knew I didn’t want to go to med school, so one day my husband and I said, “Let’s apply to nursing school,” and we did it together. I got my RN at Casper College. As a working nurse, I loved the OR, but I knew I didn’t want to be a circulating nurse forever, so I began learning how to scrub and pass instruments. I have had to assist before and I thought it would be a good place to take my career as a nurse in the operating room.  Plus, being able to bill and work fewer hours is awesome!