Become an RNFA: Make $$ for yourself and save money for surgeons

[This is a guest post by Heather Pennington.]
I have been a RN for 16 years with experience as an office nurse (cardiology, oncology, general surgery), emergency room, operating room, medical sales, and have now found my perfect “fit” as a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA).

The perfect “fit” as a RNFA was a challenge to achieve as a single mother of two. The effort it involved was worth every minute. I went to a college in Florida for my RNFA training and it was a wonderful experience. The lectures and skill labs were interesting and fun. The testing was intense. There were NO open book tests here!!; The training I received there was a great way to build on the knowledge I had and prepared me for the 200 hours of clinical internship to follow. That was the FUN part! For your intership look for surgeons that love the operating room, and want to be operating. Choose surgeons that love to teach and understand the valuable role you provide! Also, when finding a RNFA program it is imperative that it is accepted by the Certification Board of Perioperative Nursing. There are also RNFA state networking groups that are available as a resource.

I no longer work 6:30 – 3:30 for a hospital or a surgeon. I am an independent contractor. With the relationships I have build over several years as a circulator and scrub, and the RNFA training I now work with surgeons I choose to work with and that I enjoy working with. Some days I may assist with a laparoscopic cholecystectomy and make $200 for thirty minutes of work. That’s just a quick example! When my children have something special at school, I am able to BE THERE!! Without the hassle of turning in requests for PTO!!! The surgeons I work with are my friends that want the best for me and my family. They like having an independant RNFA help them with cases because it frees up their office nurse or PA to stay in the office and take care of office duties like calling patients back, working on charts and other duties. It’s a WIN WIN situation.

If you are a registered nurse with operating room experience as scrub and circulator do not let this opportunity pass you by. You can provide a service and receive great personal enrichment from making someone’s life better! If you are looking for someone(or something) in your life to provide you with comfort and love, what better way to achieve that than by providing that to someone else!!!! Become a nurse, go to the operating room and you will know quickly if this is your place to be. Our personalities are strong willed and somewhat quirky. You develop many interpersonal relationships in the operating room and that is a very important key to a successful career as a RNFA.

  • 2 Comments...Your thoughts?


  1. tina says:

    Hi, i’m a new rnfa and employed by a hospital. I really would like to expand but I have no idea how to start. Any advise???

  2. Sheri says:

    Hello :) I am a junior in high school and I am very interested in RNFA. I researched a lot of information on RNFA but I’m not quite sure if I grasp the way to become a RNFA. I’m guessing that you go to college and become a RN with a bachelor’s degree but where does it go from there? Do you have to work in the operating room for a specific amount of time or do you just continue your schooling and then get your experience. I would greatly appreciate the response :) I have a 3.6 GPA and do extracurricular activities, next year I plan on taking AP Bio and English. Any comment would be great! Thank you :)

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