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Reflections on becoming an RNFA  by Melissa Carriere.

RN First Assistant Clinical Internship


I am a member of AORN and am employed as an operating room nurse at Memorial Hospital At Gulfport.  I am currently completing a clinical internship with Dr.Dauterive as an RN First Assistant in the vascular specialty.  Professional Nursing Seminars and the Northern New Mexico Community College sponsor this AORN approved program.  I have completed the didactic phase of this program, an intense 7 day classroom and laboratory experience was held in Taos Ski Valley in Northern New Mexico.  Louise Pasaka teaches the program and advises the students throughout the course of the program.  I began the program in September of 2003 and have till September of 2004 to fulfill all requirements to complete the program.


The clinical internship is designed to provide me with clinical experience in the RN First Assistant role.  As an RNFA intern I have performed in an expanded perioperative capacity as a collaborative member of the vascular surgery team.  My role as a RN first assistant includes preoperative assessment and postoperative evaluation, however my first assistant role occurs primarily during the Intraoperative phase.  Under the direction of my clinical preceptor and mentor Dr.Dauterive I perform nursing behaviors unique to the RN first assistant.  These behaviors include, but are not limited to; tissue handling, handling of instrumentation, providing exposure, hemostasis and suturing. 


As an RN first assistant during this clinical phase, I am highly motivated and self-directed in pursuit of my goal to become an accomplished RNFA and an asset to the surgical team. 


As part of my requirements in completing this program I have to complete the didactic phase, my clinical internship, do a variety of learning experiences, such as writing this article, doing a perioperative case study, documenting the surgical procedures as well as providing an anecdotal log on each procedure, and writing various papers.  I also have to be CNOR to complete the course.  These exercises aid me in building on my prior knowledge and in expanding my scope of practice as well as understanding the whole surgical experience.


This program has enabled me to build on my prior knowledge of surgery and establish higher goals in my professional and personal life.  I would recommend this program to anyone who aspires to become a RNFA.


Thank you for the opportunity to complete this requirement and share my experience with my AORN colleagues.


Melissa Carriere RN, BSN, RNFAi



The Mississippi Sound Chapter of AORN would like to congratulate Melissa on her accomplishments in pursuit of the goal she has set forth.  We hope that other nursing professionals will continue to grow and develop in knowledge and in skill in their areas of expertise. 
The benefits:  Self fulfillment, confidence, clinical competence, and achievement. 
Every surgical patient deserves a perioperative nurse as a member of their OR team!!!. 

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