September 2018 • Volume 11, No. 9

From the Editor

The third week in September is International Clean Hands Week, which gives us a good opportunity to take a closer look at something our readers as medical professionals might take for granted: Sanitation and Sterilization.

It’s hard to believe the practice of surgeons washing their hands before surgery is only 150 years old. “Not very long ago, you could die from a broken arm and many did,” writes Kat Eschner on “That all changed with an idea we think of as pretty basic today: surgery needs to be sterile.” Read the article here.

In this issue you can learn about new developments in equipment sterilization methods, see a  finger-twirling video about how rubber gloves are made, and take a behind-the-scenes look at medical sterilization in a large hospital.

You’ll also find job postings and a new crossword puzzle. Our Student in the Spotlight is John Barrett, DNP, FNP-BC, of Philadelphia, PA.



Julie Lancaster, Editor


Sterilizing with Plasma

Researchers at Purdue University are using cold plasma to spot-sterilize tools that would melt with typical super-heated gas techniques.
Read more . . . (Image:

Killing Bacteria with X-rays

Researchers at the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology have discovered a method of quickly and easily killing bacteria by using long exposure to low-energy X-rays. After more testing this has the potential to be a new tool for sterilizing medical equipment. Read more . . .

Endoscope Sterilization Terminal

Recent infection outbreaks have been associated with the use of flexible endoscopes. A company called TSO3 has developed a low-temperature sterilization system that utilizes vaporized hydrogen peroxide and ozone to achieve terminal sterilization of these useful diagnostic tools.
Read more . . .


The medical world was revolutionized by the rubber glove. This video shows you how rubber and latex gloves are made and tested.

Watch video . . .

Go behind the scenes at a large hospital while a video crew follows a sterile processing technician through her shift; she describes the hospital’s process for sterilizing reusable medical supplies.

Watch video . . .

Otorhinolaryngologic Crossword Puzzle

SurgiQuiz Puzzle
Test your knowledge of Otorhinolaryngologic Surgery procedures 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: John Barrett

John Barrett in a white labcoatCredentials

City & State
Philadelphia, PA

Student Status
Current student in NIFA’s RNFA Program

Current Position
Family and Sports NP at the University of Pennsylvania

Where did you get your RN degree?
Duke University

How did you come to choose sports medicine?
I chose family and sports medicine because I like the idea of being able to treat the entire population, birth to death. When I was younger I played hockey, but then I was diagnosed with bone tumors. During the period I was working to resolve that, I was inspired by the medical professionals who helped me. I was a runner then and am a cyclist now and lift weights, so I’m very interested in sports ortho. 

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA this week that you will use for life?    
Subcuticular beginning and end. I enjoyed the hands-on approach of the workshop.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
More opportunity in the field I enjoy and better salary. I took this training on my own, and it was really worth it.  

Jobs Front

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

NIFA – Office Hours


Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm

Practice Resources

Here are several of the most-in-demand sites for our students, prospective students and grads:

ACS 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, 2016 (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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