Registered Nurse First Assistant Program


St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s Perioperative Institute, in affiliation with Northern Kentucky University, offers The Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) Program based on the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Core Curriculum. This program provides RNs and APRNs with the preparation necessary to assume the role of the first assistant in operative and invasive procedures.

The program is a combination of didactic online course and a three-day in-person session. The online portion emphasizes surgical anatomy and procedures. The in-person session combine classroom instruction on laboratory experience specific to the role of the RNFA – tissue handling, providing exposure, suturing techniques and instrument handling.

The clinical internship requires 130 hours of direct intraoperative care under the supervision of a surgeon mentor. The internships are arranged by the participant. Six college credits received from NKU and a certificate of completion from St. Elizabeth will be awarded when all requirements are met

The program will be held at:

St. Elizabeth Edgewood
1 Medical Village Drive
Edgewood, KY

The campus is nine miles from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and has several nearby hotels for overnight accommodations.

Northern Kentucky University - College of Health Professions

Contact Us

For questions regarding the program, please contact Susan Garrett, St. Elizabeth Healthcare RNFA Program Coordinator, at (859) 301-5942,

RN Admission Requirements

  • Current RN licensure, unencumbered.
  • Minimum two years perioperative experience.
  • CNOR or CNOR eligible.
  • BLS certification.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Baccalaureate

Advanced Practice Nurse Requirements

  • Current licensure, unencumbered.
  • BLS certification.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Documented knowledge of perioperative skills.
  • Copy of board certification.


Separate fees are due to St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Northern Kentucky University

  • $1,650 due to St. Elizabeth Healthcare. Refunds issued for cancellation if received ten days prior to start of course.
  • $2,550 for in-state tuition, $5,118 for out-of-state tuition plus applicable fees due to Northern Kentucky University (price is based on NKU tuition, applicable to semester). NKU refunds are issued in accordance to university policies.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare reserves the right to cancel the RNFA Program due to insufficient enrollment. In this case, all fees will be refunded.

Visit the National Assistant at Surgery Assistant Certification website at