School of Nursing

Human Health Building, Room 3027
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 364-8733
M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m. closed daily 12 p.m.-1 p.m.

RNFA Certificate

New Certificate Course 

The Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) Certificate course is designed for active CNOR nurses who are interested in becoming an RNFA. This course complies with standards and guidelines as expressed by AORN and will provide the education and practice to allow the learner to sit for the national RNFA exam. Learners who complete this course will earn 139 Nursing Continuing and Professional Development Units (formerly referred to as CEs).

Registered Nurse First Assistant

The Association for Operating Room Nurses (AORN) has now mandated that RNFA certificate programs be university-based. At the request of the School of Nursing’s Board of Visitor members, the School of Nursing has hired a veteran RNFA to develop and instruct this certificate program, Todd Farlow. Todd has designed a curriculum based on the criteria and standards of AORN that includes knowledge, skills and experience required to successfully sit for the national certification exam.

The primary goal of this program is to educate and train RNs in the surgical skills required for operating room procedures including, but not limited to, suturing, retracting, and positioning to enhance the resources of the operating room team. Following AORN national standards of perioperative nursing, this program will include 99 hours didactic and online study with an additional 40 hours of suturing/ knot tying skills lab experience at Oakland University's Human Health Building and a precepted clinical experience in the OR.

Upon completion of the program, the RN will be able to function as an RNFA in orthopedic, neuro spine: plastics (cosmetic); vascular and robotic procedures including OB/Gyn, urology and general surgical procedures. With these skills, the RNFA will be able to provide safe care for all surgical patients.

Students will be able to:

  • Describe factors controlling scope of practice and procedures for obtaining privileges and practicing
  • Identify surgical anatomy, physiology, and implications for the RNFA for multi-specialty surgical procedures
  • Relate principles of asepsis, infection control, and wound healing to the practice
  • Recognize surgical hazards and implement appropriate techniques to prevent patient injury and achieve optimal surgical outcome
  • Integrate perioperative nursing and first assisting knowledge with demonstrable RNFA skills and behaviors, appropriate for surgical interventions
  • Utilize the nursing process for the foundation of practice
  • Demonstrate best practices
  • Articulate communication skills that are used throughout the perioperative period to facilitate optimal patient outcomes
  • Apply fundamentals for perioperative practice including prepping, draping, gowning, gloving, and specimen handling


About the Instructor: Todd Farlow, BSN, RN, CRNFA
Todd began his nursing career as a staff nurse on an internal medicine unit at Providence Hospital and shortly transferred to the operating room and where he has been practicing ever since. In 1999, he became certified in the operating room (CNOR) and as an RN First Assistant. Todd has extensive training and experience in cardiovascular and plastic surgery with over 10,000 hours as a CRNFA (Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant) at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI. He has over 20,000 hours as a CRNFA at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac, MI. In the past 22 years, Todd has been successfully performing endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH) with over 2,000 cases to date.

If you have any questions regarding the certificate program, please contact Jennifer Cepnick at, Dr. Patricia Cameron at or Todd Farlow at

Cost for the Program

In aligning with Oakland University's strategic goals to include affordable and quality professional development options, to increase community engagement, improve the student experience, and build community partnerships, the School of Nursing offers a discounted option for hospitals and health care agencies who have more than one nurse complete the course. To discuss multiple participant pricing, please contact Jennifer Cepnick at

For pricing or to register, please click here.