October 2023 • Volume 17, No. #10

From the Editor


Take our bony, clammy hand and let us guide you down the mysterious path that is this year’s Annual Halloween Issue. Each October we step away from the serious business of surgery and look toward topics that are intriguing or downright spooky. This time we investigate several persistent and stubborn medical mysteries that have been haunting healthcare professionals for years.

We also bring you some non-Halloween-y NIFA news. And our Student in the Spotlight is Rachel Johnson, BSN, RN, CNOR, of Longview, WA.

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

Have a spooky rest-of-the-month!


Julie Lancaster, Editor

Image by Anna on Adobe Stock

NIFA Sponsors AORN Chapter Workshop Lunch

On Friday, October 13, the Denver chapter of AORN held its fall workshop at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Denver. Attended by perioperative nurses and orientees from around the region, many of them chapter members, the event supported nursing scholarships for nurses in the Denver area. NIFA sponsored 100 lunches for all attendees and vendors. NIFA also sponsored the CE award for the event. Jim Stobinski, NIFA’s Director of Education, presented the new Nurse In Surgery Essentials (NISE) program options to managers and educators.

Medicine’s Most Intriguing Mysteries

KU Medical Center experts give some insight into seven medical mysteries that continue to perplex researchers and clinicians, in a Summer 2023 article by Anne Christianson-Bullers. Springboarding off the article, we’ve paired each mystery below with some articles and a movie recommendation for your enjoyment. Read more . . .

Could humans ever be cloned?

“The short answer is yes,” said Patrick Gonzales, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in the University of Kansas School of Medicine. . . . but the ethical and legal concerns of cloning are problematic.”


Image by Login on Adobe Stock

Why don’t we have a clear cause or cure for schizophrenia?

After decades of research, there still isn’t a definitive cause or cure for the disease.

Does the human lifespan have a limit?

“We know that only 1 of 10,000 people will actually make it to the age of 100,” Bruce R. Troen, M.D., professor and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at KU School of Medicine, director of the Landon Center on Aging and physician investigator for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said. “That is a rapidly growing group, but it’s still very unusual for someone to live that long.”

What causes migraine headaches?

Migraine headaches are a complex neurological condition with various triggers and underlying causes. The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors.

Image by Utah51 on Adobe Stock


Will we ever find a cure for the common cold?

The common cold is caused by various viruses, primarily rhinoviruses, and there are more than 200 different strains. Because of this diversity and the rapid mutation rate of these viruses, finding a single “cure” for the common cold has proven to be challenging.

  • Vaccines For the Common Cold – journal article 2022
  • See (TV series 2019-2022) – Far in a dystopian future, the human race has lost the sense of sight, and society has had to find new ways to interact, build, hunt, and to survive. All of that is challenged when a set of twins are born with sight.

Can we prevent future pandemics?

Probably not, but we have learned a lot during COVID-19 about mitigation for future pandemics.


Image by Victoria Kondysenko on Adobe Stock

Why have asthma rates jumped dramatically over the past 20 years?

The increase in asthma rates over the past few decades is a complex issue with multiple contributing factors. While there isn’t a single explanation for the dramatic rise in asthma prevalence, several key factors have been proposed.?????

In The Spotlight: Rachel Johnson


Student Status
Current student in NIFA’s RNFA course

City & State
Longview, WA

Current Position
I currently work as an RN circulator in the OR at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview, WA. I will hopefully be stepping into the RNFA role after finishing this program. I plan on working in gynecology, assisting in robotic/laparoscopic surgeries and in orthopedics closing total joints.

Where did you get your RN degree?
Lower Columbia College, Longview, Washington.

What made you take up nursing in the first place?
I chose a nursing career strategically for the high-demand need and versatility. I enjoy learning new things and wanted a challenging career that would allow me to take on new roles
as I advanced. There are so many paths that can be taken in nursing. I’m so excited to begin my path as an RNFA.

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?
I felt drawn to the OR and wanted a new challenge.

What is the scariest moment you’ve ever seen at the table?
GSW [gunshot wound] to the chest with MTP protocol [Massive Transfusion Protocol] in the middle of the night with very few staff. Outcome: The patient survived! Everyone did a great job. The ER came to help with the MTP.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?
How to tie and secure knots.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
I am so excited to see where my career takes me now. This training has been a great experience. I can’t wait to use my skills to provide better care to my patients. Thank you NIFA!

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.