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College of Nursing > Doctoral Degree and Certificate Options > Doctor of Nursing Practice, Certificate Options, & > Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) Online Course Series
About Rush University
The Role
The online registered nurse first assistant two-course series prepares graduates to function in an expanded role in the operating room. RNs engage with the perioperative client across the lifespan to provide high quality care and maximize clinical outcomes. The didactic course provides requisite knowledge and clinical experience includes a preceptorship, allowing for development and mastery of affective and psychomotor skills necessary to work effectively in the operating room. The practicum course solidifies knowledge and skills and immerses the RN in the RNFA role. The series emphasizes collaboration and communication among the interprofessional team in the operating room. 
Admission Guidelines
  • Licensed to practice as a registered nurse (without provision or condition)
  • Cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Submission of official transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended
  • One professional letter of recommendation from a surgeon that is willing to serve as a practicum preceptor. 
  • Submission of a completed application with a nonrefundable application fee.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for applicants who are non-native speakers of English and have not completed a minimum of three (3) years of higher education and received their baccalaureate degree in the United States.
  • No personal essay or interview is required
The Course Series/Program Information
The RNFA course series is based on the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses core curriculum for the RNFA. There are three unique aspects of this series:
a) didactic content delivered online
b) an individualized 120 clock-hour clinical practicum with a qualified surgeon preceptor
c) competency-based application of knowledge to clinical practice. 
Rush University College of Nursing is offering a registered nurse first assistant (RNFA) two-course series. These courses expands the RN role to include the skill set of a first surgical assistant in the operating room. Providing this enhanced continuity of care adds value and marketability for current or future practice. Upon completion of the series registered nurses will have the required didactic preparation, letter of course completion and partial clinical hours to sit for the RNFA certification exam offered by the Competency & Credentialing Institute. Clinical hours required to sit for certification are met through a combination of professional perioperative experience and course series hours.*  

The Faculty

Rush College of Nursing faculty are highly experienced practitioner-teachers with doctoral and master's degrees and certification in their specialties. The practitioner-teacher model at Rush University allows faculty to maintain and enhance their clinical expertise and apply it to research and academic programs. 
Contact for Registered Nurse First Assistant Series: 

Rhonda L. Owens

Career Opportunities
According to Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, all state boards of nursing recognize the RNFA role as being within the scope of nursing practice. RNs who become RNFAs can seamlessly work with clients across the continuum of care. 
Certification and Accreditation*
Completion of the RNFA series provides the required didactic preparation, letter of course completion and partial clinical hours to sit for the RNFA certification exam offered by the Competency & Credentialing Institute. Two thousand clinical hours are required to sit for certification. These hours are met through a combination of professional perioperative experience and course series hours. 
Clinical Sites

Students are required to fulfill their practicum requirement in the state in which they are licensed to practice as a registered nurse. Upon acceptance students must confirm the identity of a surgeon and associated clinical site, communicate that information to Rush College of Nursing faculty and work with the faculty to establish the necessary contract and supporting documentation allowing for a smooth transition into the practicum course. Practicum sites must afford students the opportunity to achieve the competencies outlined in the Rush University College of Nursing RNFA Clinical Performance Appraisal that can be found on the Rush University portal. Final negotiations with appropriate preceptors and accessible practicum sites are done by a member of the Rush College of Nursing faculty.

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