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Fellowship FAQs


  • What is a fellowship?

    Answer: A fellowship is a program recognizing individuals who have made sustaining and substantial contributions to a specialty and/or professional organization. These contributions go beyond the local environment and make a significant impact on their profession and/or organization. Fellows have achieved success in their field and are committed to sharing their expertise with others.

  • What is specific about the AORN Fellowship?

    Answer: The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Fellowship recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the specialty of perioperative nursing and to AORN in the areas of clinical practice, administration/leadership, education, or research/evidence based practice. AORN Fellows have shared those contributions with others through publications, presentations, research etc. These contributions go beyond the local activities and have made a sustainable impact on perioperative nursing and/or patient care across the state/region/country/globe.

  • What is the difference between the AORN Fellowship and the Award for Excellence?

    Answer: The Award for Excellence (AFE) is an individual award, usually given to one member per year who has demonstrated excellence in all areas of practice, education, and research. The AFE recipients are recognized at Expo and have an opportunity to share their perceptions of excellence. The AORN Fellowship is a recognition for sustained and substantial contributions to AORN and perioperative nursing. The criteria for fellowship are broader as candidates demonstrate their influence in at least  one area: clinical practice, administration/leadership, education, and/or research.

Eligibility Criteria

  • I am not a member of a local chapter, member-at-large, or eChapter. Am I eligible?

    Answer: No. A requirement for acceptance is membership in AORN at some level for a minimum of five consecutive years prior to application. Applicants must also have a minimum of 5-years of perioperative nursing experience.

  • Why is a master’s degree required?

    Answer: Obtaining a master’s degree is an achievement that demonstrates ongoing professional development and continuous learning and is consistent with other specialty fellowship programs.

  • I have a master’s degree in XYZ. Does it need to be in nursing?

    Answer: The master’s degree does not need to be in nursing. Based upon their individual professional goals, applicants may have enhanced their knowledge through different degree programs that are related to their work focus. However, one degree must be in nursing (i.e., BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD).

  • I have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, can I still apply?

    Answer: Yes if you have at least one additional nursing degree (BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD) as well as the required advanced degree.

  • I have a DNP. Does that meet the educational requirement?

    Answer: Yes. The minimum requirement is a master’s degree or higher and a DNP meets that requirement.

  • I am certified through an entity other than CCI, but not CCI. Am I eligible?

    Answer: Certifications will only be accepted from the National Assistant at Surgery Certification (NACS) or CCI.  Applicants must hold a nationally recognized certification in perioperative nursing (e.g. CNOR, CRNFA, CNS-CP, and CSSM). The CCI offers all of these credentials except the CRNFA, which is administered via the NACS.

  • I am CNOR (e). Am I eligible?

    Answer: Yes, nationally recognized emeritus certifications in perioperative nursing are acceptable.

  • I was not granted Emeritus Status as a CNOR because I retired before 2001. Can I be granted Emeritus Status now?

    Answer: Yes, CCI has agreed to grant Emeritus Status to those who retired in the year 2000 or prior. Any nurse wishing to be granted Emeritus status should contact Jim Stobinski of CCI directly. His email is [email protected].

  • I have only been active with AORN at the local level. Am I eligible?

    Answer: No. Applicants should have been active at the state, regional, national, and/or international level before applying for the fellowship. Although contributions may have begun at the local level, the fellowship designation demonstrates that fellows have contributed a broader, significant and sustainable impact on the profession and/or organization.

  • Is there a limit on how many can apply each year?

    Answer: No.

  • Can sponsors apply?

    Answer: Yes, if sponsored by another sponsor.

  • Are sponsors (or other groups) grandfathered in?

    Answer: No person or group is grandfathered in.

  • Are there categories of members who cannot apply?

    Answer: During their tenure AORN staff and Board Members cannot apply or serve as applicant sponsors. Members of the Fellowship Selection Committee can also not apply or serve as a sponsor during their tenure and for one year after their service on the committee.


  • Where do I find the list of potential sponsors?

    Answer: Please visit the Sponsor page for a list of potential sponsors and their contact information.

  • I don’t know the potential sponsors. How can I contact them?

    Answer: The list of potential sponsors and their email addresses are listed on the AORN website. Sponsors have the option to decline to sponsor someone if they are not familiar with the applicant’s work. Headquarters staff, members of the AORN Board of Directors, and the Fellowship Selection Committee members may not sponsor candidates during their term.

  • How many candidates can be sponsored by the same person?

    Answer: There is no set limit as to how many applicants a sponsor can accept. Sponsors will set their own limits based on their personal workload and ability to mentor applicants. Sponsors should have some knowledge of the candidates they sponsor and/or spend time getting to know the candidate so that their letter fully collaborates the candidate statements.

  • What should my sponsor write about me?

    Answer: There should be congruency between your application and the sponsor letter. We suggest that you share your application with them so that they can clarify and/or amplify your contributions based on their personal knowledge of you.

  • Do the sponsors know we will be reaching out to them for their recommendations?

    Answer:  Yes. All sponsors have confirmed their willingness to participate.

  • Is there a word limit for the sponsor letter?

    Answer: Yes, 500 words in the body of the letter.

  • Once there are a significant number of fellows, who will the sponsors be?

    Answer: At that time, all fellows will be able to sponsor candidates with the exception of those currently working at Headquarters, serving as a member of the Board of Directors, or a member of the Fellow Selection Committee.  Committee members may not sponsor a candidate or apply for fellowship for one full year after their term ends.

Facility Leader Letter

  • I don’t report to the nursing department. Is it acceptable to have a physician or hospital administrator write this letter?

    Answer: Yes. Because of the variety of settings in which perioperative nurses’ practice. The facility/leader recommendation letter should be written by a nurse leader or other leadership individual who is familiar with your work and can attest to the impact of that work on perioperative nursing and/or AORN. The individual does not need to be your direct supervisor. The best approach is to share your area of focus in your application with your facility/leader so that he or she can amplify and/or clarify your significant and sustained contributions.

  • I work for industry and there is no nursing leader. Who should write this letter?

    Answer: See above.

  • I am retired and no longer work in a facility, who should write this letter?

    Answer: See above.

  • Is it acceptable to have someone who reports to me write this letter?

    Answer: No, this letter should be written by a nurse or other individual in a leadership position with whom you have worked. This person should be familiar with your work and able to attest to the impact of that work on perioperative nursing.

  • Does the facility leader who writes my letter need to be the person to whom I directly report?

    Answer: No. However, this person should be familiar with your work and able to attest to the impact of that work on perioperative nursing and/or AORN.

  • Is there a word limit for the facility nursing leader letter?

    Answer: Yes, 500 words in the body of the letter.


  • Where is the application located?

    Answer: The application will be available on the FAORN page under the resources section, during the dates the application is open.

  • What are the dates when the application portal will be open?

    Answer: The portal will be open mid-July through midnight (MST) on the fourth Sunday in September.

  • Is there a word limit to my responses to the three essay questions?

    Answer: Yes, the limit is based on a 2,500-character count (approximately 400-500 words for each).

  • How are the letters of support submitted?

    Answer: All letters of support are uploaded and submitted electronically with the application. The body of the letter is limited to 500 words. They may be submitted as a Word document or a .pdf file.

  • What is the difference between a resume and a CV?

    Answer: A resume is a brief summary (1-2 pages) of experience and identifies skills, knowledge and abilities to meet job responsibilities. A CV is detailed and identifies chronological employment experience, education, publications, presentations, and participation in professional organizations. Your CV should demonstrate congruency with your submitted essay responses, sponsor letter, and facility/nurse leader letter.

  • I am very active in my church youth group. Should I discuss this in my application?

    Answer: The criteria for acceptance as a FAORN are individuals who have made significant contributions to the specialty of perioperative nursing and to AORN. Service on other professional association boards, foundations, non-profit organizations, advisory bodies, and regulatory/government boards, which have an impact on perioperative nursing may be relevant to the FAORN. However, there is a word limit on the application, and you may want to focus first on perioperative nursing activities.

  • How long is the review process?

    Answer: The review process will take several months, with completion estimated by early November.

Application Fee

  • What is the application fee and how much are the dues?

    Answer: The non-refundable application fee is $350. The dues are every two years and are $250, starting two years after acceptance.

  • Why is there an application fee?

    Answer: This fee is to offset the expenses of developing the program, staff support, IT support, webpage development, application processing, and etc.

  • Are the biennial fees associated with FAORN recognition in addition to the annual dues for AORN membership?

    Answer: Yes. The fees associated with Fellowship recognition are separate from annual membership dues.

  • Will I be notified automatically that the fee is due annually particularly if I have a lifetime membership with AORN?

    Answer: Yes, you will receive a notice from AORN.


  • Will there be a limit to the number of fellows selected?

    Answer: No.

  • When and how will those selected be notified?

    Answer: Applicants who have been selected will be notified by phone and by email.

  • If selected as a fellow, what are our responsibilities?

    Answer: Fellows will uphold the Fellowship pledge and support the mission and vision of AORN. Fellows are expected to continue their contributions to AORN, mentor others, and encourage other Fellowship applicants.

  • If not selected, will there be feedback regarding selection so that I may reapply?

    Answer: If not selected, you may reapply in following years. The Fellowship Selection Committee may provide feedback to applicants at its discretion.

  • What are the requirements to maintain FAORN other than biennial dues?

    Answer: The criteria are active AORN membership, maintenance of certification or certification emeritus status, and payment of biennial dues. Fellows are expected to continue to contribute to AORN and perioperative nursing.