November 2017 • Volume 10, No. 11
From the Editor

First, Perioperative Nurse Week is Nov. 12-18. Kudos to all our OR nurse readers! This is a great time to show your appreciation to other OR nurses and shine a light on the field of perioperative nursing in your local community. Check out AORN’s suggestions here.

Second, did you know that pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S.? It kills more people than breast cancer.
By designating November National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) hopes to fund more research breakthroughs, advance more treatment options, increase the national dialogue for the disease and–bottom line–increase survival rates.

PanCAN works on many fronts: research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy. The organization is backed by a nationwide network of grassroots support whose efforts include a series of PurpleStride walks and runs in communities across the country.

In this issue we bring you resources about the pancreas and pancreatic surgery, including an all-new crossword puzzle.

Our student in the spotlight is Grace Johnson, FNP, RNFA.

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


Julie Lancaster, Editor


Some encouraging news in the ongoing question of who will replace the aging baby boomer nursing workforce: a report published last month in Health Affairs says that millennials are entering the nurse workforce at nearly double the rate that boomers once were.

Pancreas Resources
Working with both the digestive system and the endocrine system, the human pancreas helps control blood sugar and metabolism within our bodies and also helps us digest.

The pancreas has two main types of cells. The vast majority are exocrine cells, forming the exocrine glands that make enzymes to help with digestion, and the ducts related to those glands; a smaller number are endocrine cells, which make insulin, glucagon, and other hormones and release them directly into the blood. Cancer can occur in either area, but exocrine pancreatic cancers account for more than 95% of pancreatic cancers.

For a general summary of the various surgical approaches used for pancreatic cancer, see the American Cancer Society’s page on the topic.


From Johns Hopkins Medicine, a short video (9:26) explaining the Whipple procedure or pancreaticoduodenectomy.
Watch video

Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy, an 18-minute teaching video presented by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES).
Watch video


Perioperative Puzzle: Pancreas Surgery Crossword

Test your knowledge of pancreas anatomy and surgery 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!

Graduate Spotlight: Grace Johnson


Student Status:  Graduated 10/2017
City & State: Lubbock, TX

Where did you get your FNP degree, and do you have a specialty?
I earned my degree from Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock, TX. My specialty is orthopedic spine.

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing and how long have you been in the perioperative setting?
I had been doing office and clinical work and had never been in the perioperative setting before. When I interviewed for my current job, my surgeon’s goal was to bring on someone who would be interested in taking the RNFA training, which I was. 

What is the scariest moment you’ve  seen at the table?
Until recently I had not had any OR experience. When I started doing my clinical practice in the OR, my physician surprised me with his choice in music. He is always very serious, and yet he likes to play club music in the OR!

What techniques or RNFA tricks did you learn from NIFA that you will use for life?
At first I had a lot of difficulty with one-hand tying. I struggled with it; I practiced and practiced. Now it is practically the only way I tie.

What advice would you give other perioperative nurses who wish to pursue RNFA?
Practice is the key.


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

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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.