Program Opportunities for Enhanced Perioperative Registered Nurses

Enhanced Perioperative Nursing Practice

Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)

The Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) is an enhanced perioperative nursing practice that is focused on providing assistance to the surgeon and surgical team to facilitate quality care of patients undergoing surgical procedures. The increasing complexity of surgery provides the RNFA, who has additional perioperative nursing education, with the opportunity to practice in collaboration with and at the direction of the surgeon. Since the year 2000, all provinces within Canada recognize RNFA's scope of nursing practice as an extension of perioperative nursing that encompasses the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases of the surgical experience.

Currently NIFA® administers a program in conjunction with accredited colleges meeting all AORN/ ORNAC Standards for RNFA education. This program accepts Canadian Nurses & Canadian Perioperative Certification.

For more information visit, email or call 1-800-922-7747


Anesthesia Assistant (AA)

Anesthesia Assistants or Anesthesiologist Assistants (AA) are specially trained Registered Respiratory Therapists or Critical Care Registered Nurses that participate in the care of the stable surgical patient during general, regional, or conscious sedation anesthesia.

The Anesthesia Assistant (AA) is a mid-level anesthesia provider and is a valuable member of the Anesthesia Care Team (ACT) who works under the direct supervision of the anesthesiologist and under the authority of medical directives.

Most Anesthesia Assistants work in the operating rooms of a hospital, but they can also be found in post-operative care areas, pain clinics and special procedure rooms.

Duties of an Anesthesia Assistant include performing activities such as the provision of conscious sedation, administration of anesthetic gases and medications, insertion of hemodynamic monitors and assessment of depth of anesthesia, monitoring a patient's hemodynamic status, blood, fluid and pharmacological therapy, providing technical support to the anesthesiologist for complex anesthesia equipment, and providing airway management.

To be eligible for an AA training program, the RN must have at least 2000 hours of work experience while practicing in critical care areas such as OR, ICU, NICU, PACU and/or ER.
The following are ACCREDITED programs in Canada offering certification in Anesthesia Assistance. These programs are accredited by the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT).;
* Updated November 2023


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