NOVEMBER 2019 • Volume 12, No. 11

From the Editor

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, and it’s also the month of Thanksgiving.

So besides refreshing our memory about lung cancer and surgical treatments, and reading the latest news about vaping and surgical smoke, we have a Thanksgiving suggestion for you.

Take a few minutes to thank those precious, spongy organs. Actually close your eyes and focus on your lungs as you give them the gift of a few deep, complete breaths in and out. Consider how your lungs energize your body when you inhale, prepare oxygen for cells throughout your body, and eliminate waste matter when you exhale.

Ah, that’s better.

Read on for lung news and resources and a brand new crossword puzzle. Our student in the spotlight is Lee Chatham, Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP, of Dade City, FL.

You’ll also find our jobs list and NIFA’s favorite links.

And very best wishes for a good Thanksgiving to you and those near and dear to you. Including your lungs.


Julie Lancaster, Editor

Lung Cancer Awareness

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide (World Health Organization), and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer, and most people with lung cancer don’t have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Everyone knows that the most important way to guard against lung cancer is to quit smoking or never take it up, but beyond that, there is much to know. Check out the following resources:

Lung Cancer Awareness resources:

The Lungevity Foundation:

The Lung Cancer Awareness Month Coalition


It was last December that the Surgeon General declared vaping (e-cigarette use) among America’s youth an epidemic.

Surgeon General’s statement 

Know the Risks
A website where you can quickly learn about vaping devices—how they work, their shapes and sizes, the risks, etc.

Now researchers at New York University School of Medicine have published a study showing that exposure to e-cigarette smoke caused mice to develop lung cancer as well as bladder urothelial hyperplasia.

Read an article on the study

Read the abstract or the full study

Because vaping is a relatively new phenomenon—within the past decade—epidemiological data showing its health effects on humans will not be available for years to come. And there are lots of variables, with kid-friendly flavorings, marijuana, and other additives being used in some e-cigarettes.

Other kinds of vaping damage:

Facing ‘Certain Death,’ Teenager With Vaping Injury Gets Double Lung Transplant

Another risk of vaping is exogenous lipoid pneumonia, which can occur when the smoke—which is actually oil droplets in an aerosol form—is inhaled. “Once in the lung, the substance causes an inflammatory response that can be severe, depending on the type of oil and length of exposure.”

Finally, a new investigation for the Journal of the American Medical Association, published just this month, shows current rates of e-cigarette use among youth in the US. In a survey conducted earlier this year, an estimated 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use.

Surgical Smoke

Smoke from laser and other electrical surgical procedures is a  hazard for those working in OR settings.

The smoke plume resulting from thermal destruction of tissue during surgery can contain toxic gases and vapors, such as benzene, hydrogen cyanide, and formaldehyde, bioaerosols, dead and live cellular material (including blood fragments), and viruses. At high concentrations the smoke causes ocular and upper respiratory tract irritation in health care personnel, and creates visual problems for the surgeon.” Read more 

In March 2019, Colorado became the 2nd state in the U.S. to adopt a surgical smoke evacuation law to protect perioperative nurses and surgical team members. The first state was Rhode Island, in July 2018.

In Finding the Courage to Speak Out Against Surgical Smoke, AORN offers tips on how you can become a smoke evacuation advocate.

Lung Surgery Videos

Many different types of surgery are employed for lung cancer and other conditions. The following videos show a few of these procedures.

Robotic Lobectomy

Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This video presents a patient with advanced lung cancer who underwent a minimally invasive surgery after chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Watch now

Thoracic Surgery

VATS Left Pneumonectomy.  This video from the Cleveland Clinic provides a step-by-step description of a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), left pneumonectomy for a left main stem mass.
Watch now

Extended Pleurectomy Decortication

Extended Pleurectomy Decortication for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The Multimedia Manual of Cardiothoracic Surgery (MMCTS) is produced by The European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS).
Watch now

Pediatric Surgery Crossword Puzzle

Test your knowledge of Pediatric 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!


Student Spotlight: Lee Chatham

Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP

Student Status
Current student

City & State
Dade City, FL

Current Position
Nurse practitioner – General surgery

Where did you get your RN degree?
I got my RN degree at the University of Alabama and my APRN degree at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

What drew you to nursing in the first place?
I always wanted to be in the medical field and my mom had always talked about nursing. My first career was in hospitality and inside sales. A friend mentioned they were going into nursing. I had never thought about it for myself but thought it was a perfect fit to get to become a nurse practitioner and work as a surgical first assist.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?
Sub-q closing.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
It has been a huge help going from little to no OR/suture experience or skills to feeling proficient with knot tying/suture and tons of knowledge of tools, etc.

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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