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NOTICE: As of January 1, 2021, the certification method for CRNFA will be changing. The CRNFA exam will be replaced by the Professional Portfolio.

The last day to submit your application for CRNFA certification by exam is October 31, 2020. The last day to sit for the exam is December 31, 2020.

For more information, see the FAQ page under the Resources menu.

CRNFA Application

Download the CRNFA Certification Application

Pricing

The fee to apply for CRNFA certification is $550.

CRNFA Eligibility Requirements

Candidates must meet one of two eligibility paths for CRNFA certification depending on Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) status. All applicants must have completed a formal RNFA program that meets the AORN standards for RN first assistant (RNFA) education programs to be eligible for CRNFA certification.

If the applicant is an RN (not an advanced practice registered nurse), the eligibility requirements for CRNFA certification include the following:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field.
  • Current CNOR certification.
  • Currently working full time or part time as an RNFA.
  • Current, unrestricted RN licensure in the country where currently practicing.
  • Completion of an acceptable formal RNFA program that meets the AORN standards for RN first assistant education programs. A copy of the certificate of completion must accompany the application.
  • A minimum of 2,000 documented hours of practice as an RNFA. Hours may include preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative patient care.

If the applicant is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), e.g., CNS, NP, CNM, or CRNA, the eligibility requirements for CRNFA certification include the following:

  • Master’s, doctoral, or post-master’s certificate in an advanced practice program.
  • Certified as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) by an accredited certification program.
  • Currently working full time or part time as an RNFA.
  • Current, unrestricted RN licensure in the country where currently practicing.
  • Completion of an acceptable formal RNFA program that meets the AORN standards for RN first assistant education programs. A copy of the certificate of completion must accompany the application.
  • A minimum of 2,000 documented hours of practice as an RNFA. Hours may include preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative patient care.

Current CNORs
If you currently hold the CNOR credential and become CRNFA certified, then you will hold both the CNOR and CRNFA credentials and may use both designations after your name (e.g., Jane Doe, MSN, RN, CNOR, CRNFA). However, for operational purposes these credentials become merged, and you must only meet the CRNFA requirements in effect at the time to recertify both credentials. This is good news for CNORs. You hold two credentials for the price of one!

How do I document 2,000 hours of practice?

Click here to download a spreadsheet to document your hours of practice.

All RNFAs, to include APRNs, must have completed at least 2,000 hours of practice as an RNFA at the time of application. Hours may include preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative patient care, defined as:

  • Preoperative Phase: Begins when the decision for operative and/or invasive procedure is made and ends when patient enters the operating room.
  • Intraoperative Phase: Begins when the patient enters the operating room and ends when the patient leaves the operating room.
  • Postoperative Phase: Begins when the patient leaves the operative room and ends with the resolution of the surgical sequelae.

In addition:

  • Pre-, intra-, and postoperative care do not have to be for the same patient. The pre-and postoperative hours do not have to be the cases on which the applicant assisted.
  • At least 1,000 hours must involve first assisting practice during the intraoperative period.
  • At least 500 of the required 2,000 hours must be in the two years immediately preceding application.
  • The 2,000 hours may include practice in an RNFA internship or practicum, otherwise the hours must be completed after graduation from the RNFA program.
  • Practice hours earned in a volunteer status while working in the RNFA role may be utilized in fulfillment of this requirement.
  • The 2,000 hours may not include attendance of classes, programs or seminars.

Documentation that must be submitted with the application includes the following:

  • Date of procedure
  • Type of procedure
  • Time of procedure delineating pre-, intra-, and postoperative hours
  • Initials of the surgeon assisted

Preoperative hours may include:

  1. Preadmission management and planning
  2. History and physical assessment
  3. Patient, family, and community education
  4. Immediate preoperative assessment
  5. Review patient record for necessary documentation related to the surgical procedure
  6. Participate in components of Universal Protocol
  7. Communication of plan of care and pertinent information with OR staff, including special needs of both patient and surgeon

Intraoperative hours must include:

Intraoperative hours must include serving in the first assistant role. While performing in the intraoperative role the first assistant cannot be concurrently serving in any other perioperative nursing role.

Postoperative hours may include:

  1. Assist with initial PACU monitoring
  2. Write postoperative orders
  3. Write or dictate progress notes, discharge summaries, history and physicals
  4. Postoperative interventions during daily rounds to include dressing changes, suture or drain removal, other types of catheter and IV removal, other tasks as ordered by the surgeon which are within the RN scope of practice
  5. Wound management
  6. Assist in monitoring nutritional support, intravenous, and electrolyte therapy
  7. Postoperative teaching, discharge instructions to patient and/or family
  8. Collaborate with facility and community resources for post-discharge care
  9. Physician office visits that include any of the above-mentioned behaviors, follow-up care, or procedures
  10. Assist with medications and medication teaching
  11. Transport to PACU