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Perioperative nurses who are practicing as RN first assistants (RNFAs), managing facilities that employ or contract with RNFAs, or are interested in finding out more about this specialty.

Purpose Statements

  • Unite RNFAs for the purpose of maintaining a specialty assembly dedicated to the continuous endeavor of promoting the highest professional standards of practice among them.
  • Research, study, discuss, and exchange information pertinent to the field of first assisting.
  • Provide and promote a dynamic network of RNFAs that will address current trends and issues related to RNFAs and promote specialized education programs for RNFAs' continuing education.
  • Serve as a forum for RNFAs in order to enhance communication.
  • Provide recommendations that will guide the scope of practice, the standards of practice, and the educational preparation of RNFAs as issued by AORN.
  • Provide a resource body for RNFAs, RNFA managers, RNFA educators, and RNFA employers in order to promote and facilitate the practice of RN first assisting.
  • Serve as a resource to AORN in the area of first assisting.
  • Facilitate the application of clinical research in the RNFA practice setting.
  • Promote safe patient care through the application of AORN's standards and recommended practices in the RNFA practice setting.
  • Promote consumer awareness to administrators, institutions, physicians, clients, and insurers regarding the RNFA role, scope of practice, qualifications, and educational preparation.


The RNFA Specialty Assembly is a coalition of perioperative nurses dedicated to the advancement of the role of the RNFA. Operating within the jurisdiction of and in collaboration with AORN, we provide a forum for the development of standards, the exchange of information, and the opportunity for education relative to the practice of the RNFA. In so doing, we enrich the quality of patient care and promote the enhancement of the role of the RNFA among our health care colleagues and the community at large.

2016-2017 Coordinating Council

Chair – Heidi Nanavati, MSN, CRNP, CNOR, RNFA

Past Chair – Belle Cord, RN, CNOR, CRNFA

Communications Chair – Kristine Mastrodonato, BSN, RN, CNOR

Education Co-Chair/Chair Elect – Carol Devlin, RN, CNOR, RNFA

Education Co-Chair – Karen Knapp, BSN, RN, CNOR, CRNFA

Professional/Practice Issues Co-Chair – Diana Wadlund, MSN, ANCP-C, CNRFA

Professional/Practice Issues Co-Chair – Allison, Flanagan, MSN, RN

AORN Board Liaison – Missi Merlino, MHA, RN-BC, CNOR

AORN Staff Consultant – Debbie Robichaud Stephen

As a member of this assembly, you can contact any member of the coordinating council via email using your AORN username and password through ORNurseLink.


AORN's specialty assemblies on ORNurseLink are a great member benefit. Access is free to all members who belong to a specialty. The web communities provide a convenient method for all members to share information, post documents, and participate in discussions. You can contact the members of the coordinating council through the community as well. To access your specialty community, you will need your AORN login and password.

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