Announcing Advanced Practice Education Track for RNFAs’
Application Deadline March 1, 2013
Publication OR Manager provides coverage of the RNFA role and who should be taking ownership.
Western University of Health Sciences and the College of Graduate Nursing offers a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program and this program will now be open to perioperative nurses practicing as a Registered Nurse First Assist (RNFA). Perioperative nurses will have the opportunity to complete the curriculum requirements in the perioperative setting. Clinical hours are not restricted to setting; they are mandated by patient populations and an established number of patients must be seen across patient populations.
Applications are being accepted now for this hybrid program and the deadline is March 1, 2013. Western University of Health Sciences is student friendly offering a full time option and an extended option. 2012-2013 Curriculum Plans and the 2012 Catalog Curriculum are available for your review. A list of FAQs has been prepared in anticipation of any questions you might have. We encourage you to review this document. You can always consult Western University of Health Sciences’ web site too.
If you have questions that can’t be answered by these resources, please contact Eva Badouin, Director of Student Services at 909-469-5515 or via email email@example.com
Why the Advance Practice Designation for an RNFA?
The simple answer is perioperative and other nurses practicing as RNFA’s want to be able to establish their own practices and bill for their services. This cannot be done without a CMS number and the requirements that make getting this number possible are educational preparation at the advanced practice level and national certification. Note: there maybe some variation within States.
A second answer is related to how the landscape of nursing practice is changing. There are many outside forces at work one being the development and acceptance of the Consensus Model which was published in July 2008. This model is the driving force for creating new levels of advanced practice in nursing. Also, significant changes to the healthcare delivery system are creating new opportunities for nurses with advanced preparation to provide care to the new insurance enrollees.
A third answer is that perioperative and other nurses practicing as RNFA’s want to compete fairly for jobs with other independent healthcare providers.
Why the FNP Role?
After reading the Consensus Model you will understand that for perioperative nurses this is the only choice that will let you take care of all patient populations. If another level of advanced practice is chosen, for example Adult Gerontology, your practice parameters will be within that patient population. It is the FNP that gives the greatest opportunities for perioperative nurses to care for all patient populations. As you make this choice, we encourage you to consider carefully the vision you have for your practice now and in the future.
History Behind This Project
In the 1980’s the Operating Room Nursing Council of California (ORNCC/Council) became part of the discussion about a new and growing role that perioperative nurses were filling-first assistant in surgery. There were a few new RNFAs who were active in the Council and ultimately a motion was taken to the National Association of periOperative Nurses (AORN) House of Delegates asking AORN to write a national curriculum for the RNFA. The rest is history. A core curriculum was developed and it is still used today.
Courses of study to learn the clinical application of the RNFA role were developed on the eastern coast. The Council was actively involved and supported the establishment of the RNFA program offered at the UCLA extension and that program is still offered today.
The Council’s vision of this role initially was that of “expanded practice.” As the role became more defined the opportunities for designation as advanced practice was evident. This vision was met with considerable objection from various groups but the Council persisted and over time and with the changes mentioned above the time was right to position perioperative nurses. A clear track to the advancement of the traditional role of the perioperative nurse was now possible.
External factors supported the advanced practice vision by making advanced practice preparation a requirement to obtain the “Medicare billing number.” Perioperative nurses can now stand side-by-side with nurses from other specialty disciplines who are billing for their services.
In 2005, the Council approached a major university in southern California asking them to considering opening up their nurse practitioner program to preoperative nurses who were practicing as RNFA’s. The timing wasn’t right so the Council waited. We tried again in 2007. In 2008 we approached another university and a seed was planted. They were interested and wanted a feasibility study to determine if this would be a viable academic option. The Council reached out the National AORN and to the Compentency & Credentialing Institute and along with the Council these three entities financially support the feasibility study. The study did show there was a keen interest in the role of the RNFA as a provider in the advanced role. Once again our timing was off and this opportunity did not move forward.
In January of 2012, Council representatives met with Western University Health Sciences to discuss how perioperative nurses practicing as an RNFA could be marketed to and offered a place in this well established program. The Council was impressed with the University’s understanding of this role and their willingness to market this program as being open to the special area of interest of periOperative Nurses.
In March 2012, Council representatives met with members of the RNFA, the Advanced Practice Nurse, and the Nurse Educator Specialty Assemblies at the National AORN Convention to let them know this option was open and applications were being accepted. The response was one of excitement that perioperative nurses, who want to advance their practice, now have a place to do that.
We encourage all perioperative nurses who are RNFA’s; all perioperative nurses that would like to be a RNFA; all perioperative nurses who would to get their own CMS number and would like to start their own practice to take a look at the FNP program at Western University Health Sciences. Apply today!