The purpose of the Certification Board is to maintain and oversee the operation of NASC certification programs in a manner consistent with recognized national accreditation standards, in alignment with NASC mission and values, and with the highest level of professional integrity. The certification board shall have the sole authority for establishing, reviewing, and maintaining essential certification program policies and procedures as it deems necessary to carry out its purpose. The certification board consists of six members who are RNFAs, as well as one public member. The board members’ terms are staggered, allowing for only a small number of members to be elected each year.
Sharon Van Wicklin, PhD, RN, CNOR, CRNFA(E), CPSN-R, PLNC, FAAN, ISPAN-F
Sharon Ann Van Wicklin has more than 45 years’ experience as a perioperative registered nurse (RN). She has worked in all facets of the perioperative environment from scrub person to director. Sharon received her Associate of Science in Nursing from Ventura College, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from Middle Tennessee State University, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) with minor in Gerontology Studies from Missouri State University. She is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing and Phi Kappa Phi. Sharon has earned certification as an operating room nurse (CNOR), as an emeritus RN first assistant (CRNFA[E]), as a retired plastic and reconstructive surgical nurse (CPSN-R), and as a legal nurse consultant (PLNC). Sharon was recognized by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) as a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in the Application of Perioperative Clinical Research Award in 2005. This award recognizes a perioperative RN whose application of perioperative clinical research reflects the goal of excellence in patient care. In 2017, Sharon received the honor of being inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), and in 2018, she was inducted as a Fellow in the International Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Nurses (ISPAN-F).In a previous position as a perioperative educator for a community hospital, Sharon was responsible for the creation and coordination of educational projects and programs designed to improve hospital processes for orientation and ongoing educational development of more than 125 personnel in nine perioperative departments. As a Senior Perioperative Practice Specialist for the AORN, Sharon provided consultative services, authored various AORN publications including the AORN guidelines and Clinical Issues columns; and, represented AORN with other professional and regulatory organizations. She was also a member of the nursing faculty at Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Phoenix. In her current position as a perioperative consultant, Sharon serves as a clinical advisor, peer reviewer, editor, author, and presenter for a variety of perioperative educational activities and publications. Her work as a professional legal nurse consultant involves reading and reviewing medical records and testifying about the scope and standard of perioperative nursing care.
Robert Salsameda, MSN, FNP-C, NP, RN, CNOR, CRNFA
Robert (Bob) Salsameda is currently practicing as certified neuroscience, perioperative, and family nurse practitioner with 49 years of perioperative and first assistant nursing experience. For the last 28 years, he has practiced in the role of the first assistant in a neurological surgery medical group practice. Bob maintains allied health professional privileges at Memorial Care Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller’s Children Hospital, a designated level two (II) trauma center. His initial perioperative experience came from military service in the U.S. Navy hospital nursing corps. Bob functions in collaborative interdependent practice as an advanced practice nurse (NP) in the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative areas of surgical neurology. He has completed twenty-eight years of instructing APRNs and perioperative nurses in the RN First Assistant role at the university level. Bob has mentored several AG/ACNP students in the care of the neurosurgical patient. He has been an invited presenter at three American Association of Neuroscience Nurses educational conferences, the American College of Nurse Practitioner’s national educational conference, and regional California Association of Nurse Practitioners annual educational conferences/seminars on various trauma and neurosurgical modalities. Bob has written and published two chapters on neurological surgery techniques for the RN First Assistant in AORN Core Curriculum for the RN First Assistant.
Karen Knapp, BSN, RN, CNOR, CRNFA
Karen M. Knapp has 35 years of OR experience, a BSN, 21 years as a CRNFA, and 10 years as a travel nurse/consultant working in settings such as ASCs, critical access, and large acute care hospitals. She has experience in orthopedics, spine, neuro, vascular, general, and endoscopy. Karen also has experience as a Clinical Implementation Specialist assisting with implementing Medhost EMR Systems in healthcare settings; active from Discovery to Go-Lives. She remains very active nationally with AORN as well as her current work with NASC in promoting RNFA certification. She is passionate, motivated, innovative, goal-directed, and member-focused. Her achievements include 2018-2019 AORN Nominating Committee Chair (2017-2019 committee); 2013-2015 AORN Board of Directors; Certificate of Mastery in Surgical Services Management; Membership on Michigan’s Nurse Action Coalition; Chair of the AORN RNFA Specialty Assembly; Education including multiple presentations to staff, AORN Chapters and sessions at AORN Conference and Expo.
Matthew Sheh, BS
Matthew Sheh is a growth strategy consultant for Accenture’s Bloom service offering. Matthew is responsible for leading teams and working with the global leaders across the Fortune 500’s pharmaceutical, consumer goods, financial services, entertainment, and logistics companies to create innovative ways to disrupt traditional business models and grow. Matthew has a broad base of growth strategy experience having designed business models for a new medical device, built financial business cases for platform enabled market growth, merged commercial operations, reimagined the salesforce, shaped innovation accelerators, and delivered various other projects across Accenture Strategy / Innovation / Interactive / Management Consulting / Cloud. Matthew enjoys enabling the next generation to succeed, having volunteered as a youth track coach for the City of Aurora and a Relationship Manager for America on Tech. Matthew received a B.S B.A in Finance with a minor in Chinese from Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU, he ran the hurdles for the track team and founded a video game startup.
Heather Kooiker MSN, RN, CNL, CNOR, CRNFA
Heather D Kooiker is Mastered prepared, board-certified Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) who holds a Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) certificate along with a Certification as an RN First Assistant (CRNFA). Heather is currently full-time nursing faculty for an area University where she oversees the Perioperative Clinical Program and is teaching evidence-based practice to the new generation of nurses. Heather is also a clinical consultant, sharing her knowledge and expertise with medical manufactures through her small consulting company. Heather maintains her clinical edge by working as a CRNFA for an ambulatory plastic surgery center. The foundation of Heather’s knowledge has been built through her 25 years of surgical services work. Heather specializes in gap analysis, policy and procedures, clinical practice guidelines, nursing-sensitive indicators, quality benchmarking, risk assessment and identification, patient safety, and collaboration through the empowerment of the front-line staff, in order to successfully implement change. Heather has published her work and presented her work nationwide and is truly an expert in the surgical field. Heather is the current president of her local AORN chapter and is active with the ANA mentoring program, CCI CNOR coaching program and most recently has joined the Board of Directors for the National Assistant at Surgery Certification (NASC).
Dean Parsons, BSN, RN, CNOR, CRNFA
Dean Parsons has over 28 years of first assisting experience in a variety of service lines including Cardiac, Orthopaedics, Robotics, and General Surgeries. He is currently practicing as an RNFA in Kearney Nebraska, where he specializes in Cardiac. Throughout his career, Dean has fulfilled several leadership roles to include O.R. manager and Team Leader for Open Heart Surgery for several years and was recognized in a commercial and within hospital system literature for his leadership abilities. Dean has served on and chaired various committees within his career and has always maintained a focus on positive patient experience and solid quality outcomes that are fundamentally driven. In addition to working as a full-time RNFA, Dean teaches hands-on first assisting workshops in various locations around the country, amounting to approximately 20 multi-day workshops per year. His personal goal each workshop is to help every student master the skills of the nation’s top assistants. About four times a year Dean also teaches wound closure techniques specific to Nurse Practitioners at various sites around the country and was honored to be able to teach a pre-congress wound closure class at AORN Congress. Dean’s education includes a diploma in Surgical Technology from Southeast Community College, an Associate of Science in Nursing from Metropolitan Community College, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Regis University. He is currently working to achieve his Family Nurse Practitioner Status through Chamberlain University.
Heidi Keegan BSN, RN, CNOR, CRNFA
Heidi Keegan is committed and dedicated to developing, teaching, and promoting RNFAs in Surgery. She received her RN Diploma from Dixon School of Nursing Abington Hospital, and her BSN from Immaculata University. She started her nursing career in 1996 on a cardiac telemetry unit and progressed to the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care. She was inspired by the Lead CRNFA in the Operating Room at the time and made a career move to the Cardiac Operating Room to be mentored and trained by Charles Eldridge, a CRNFA retired Marine. She has 20 years of cardiac surgery operating experience. She started in scrub and circulating roles, then became Clinical Leader for Cardiac Surgery. She completed RNFA training at Delaware County Community College and was lucky to be taught by Dr. Jane Rothrock herself. She has been practicing as a CRNFA in Cardiac Surgery ever since and has never looked back. Heidi is now the lead CT CRNFA responsible for training and peer mentoring of the assistants. She is currently enrolled in the LaSalle MSN Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. Heidi has volunteered to write test questions for CCI for the CNOR exam and CRNFA exam. She serves as a co-chair of Education at the RNFA Specialty Assembly. Currently, she works as a volunteer CRNFA with NASC in developing the new portfolio for CRNFA certification. She has also served as a guest lecturer on various topics pertaining to Cardiac Surgery for the Dixon School of Nursing, AACN TRENDS in Critical Care Conference, and Issues and Answers for RNFA conference.