More than 5 million inpatient surgical procedures are performed in the United States every year. Between 1990 and 2010, a 6.6% mortality rate and a 32% permanent injury rate among surgical patients cost a total of $1.3 billion. These statistics highlight the need to improve outcomes for surgical patients, and these efforts must remain at the forefront of health care quality improvement today. Nurses have long been members of operating room teams acting as patient advocates, and now nurse practitioners (NPs) with specialization as registered nurse first assistants (RNFAs) are in a unique position to help improve care to surgical patients. The purpose of this column is to introduce the NP in the role of surgical assistant and emphasize the value of that role in improving patient care by providing expertise in preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases.

All 50 state boards...

You do not currently have access to this content.