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Students in Surgery
Program Snapshot
Academic CredentialCertificate
Total Credit Hours9
Academic PathwayHealth Sciences
AdvisorBrittany Page, B.A.S., CST, CSFA
Coordinator, Surgical Services
850.769.1551 ext. 3551

Academic Program SpecialistConnie Pimentel

Pathway NavigatorMaggie Whitehead
850.769.1551 ext. 5863

Visit my faculty page

Surgical Services Website

Track your progress Degree Audit

Registered Nurse First Assistant, Certificate

Take the Next Step Toward Becoming a First Assistant

Now that you’ve been working as an operating room registered nurse (RN) or advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP), you realize that you want to do more in a surgical career. The registered nurse first assistant program is one of our Advanced Technical Certificate Programs (ATC) offered in Panama City, Florida, and prepares RNs for assisting the surgeon during surgery. Graduates will meet the program completion requirements to sit for the RNAS-C and CRNFA certification examination provided all other minimum requirements by the National Assistants at Surgery Certification (NASC) are met.

Getting your RNFA certificate in nursing is an important way to fast-track your career into the Surgical Department. 

  • The program consists of 9 college credits (3 classes). Upon successful completion of all courses with a C or better you are awarded an advanced technical certificate (ATC). If you are CNOR certified or are CNOR eligible, you can submit your CNOR certification for external credit for the first class.
  • This program is listed on the National Assistants at Surgery Certification (NASC) web page as the only RNFA program in Florida. The program meets all the AORN and NASC requirements for the core curriculum. In addition, we are associated with our accredited nursing programs including the RN to BSN and ADN programs.
Man practicing Sutures

Registered Nurse First Assistant Certificate Course Requirements


Perioperative Nursing Course
Registered Nurse First Assistant Courses

A complete list of courses with descriptions can be found in the Catalog

What can you do with a Registered Nurse First Assistant Certificate?

Where do you work?

  • Hospitals or ambulatory care centers
  • For a surgeon or surgical group
  • Join a group of surgical assistants or open your own business working with several surgeons
  • Opportunities abound, are you interested in traveling? You can apply for traveling assignments throughout the United States including Alaska and Hawaii.

What do graduates do?

  • Anticipate the next step assisting with the correct instrumentation, supply or equipment thereby facilitating the surgical procedure.
  • Work alongside surgeons, making rounds, seeing patients in the office, and assisting in surgery.

What does your work environment look like?

  • Usually full time; may require call for nights, weekends and holidays.
  • May require work shifts greater than 8 hours
  • May require standing long hours.
Hands with surgical instruments

Surgical Simulation Lab

Surgical Lab
This high-tech nursing lab in the George C. Tapper Health Sciences Building on the Panama City campus offers four high fidelity surgical operating room setups to practice and prepare for live surgery experiences.
Registered Nurse First Assistant
RNFA Class at GCSC
Gaining confidence and experience prior to the surgical case can facilitate your experience so you can gain more real life hands-on experience quickly due to the advance preparation.
Registered Nurse First Assistant
Laura, RN, RNFA

Meet Laura, RN, RNFA, Cardiovascular Specialty

"Working in the operating room as a RNFA has been a valuable experience. I work in open heart surgery as a RNFA harvesting vein for bypass surgery and assisting during the surgical procedure. I have been a preceptor for the program, working with students and faculty. It is a great career!"
– Cardiovascular RNFA, Surgical Services Past Faculty, Bay Medical Sacred Heart 

Are you ready to Get Started?

Apply to GCSC

Visit the Gulf Coast admissions page to learn more about the application process.

Consult the Gulf Coast State College Catalog for specific program and course information.

Apply to Gulf Coast

Apply for Financial Aid & Scholarships

There are many options available to help you pay for college. Find out more about  scholarships and financial aid at Gulf Coast State College.


Register for Classes

Check out the class registration dates and plan your schedule today.

Gulf Coast State College does not discriminate against any person in its programs, activities, policies or procedures on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, marital status, religion, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. All questions or inquiries regarding compliance with laws relating to non-discrimination and all complaints regarding sexual misconduct or discrimination, may be directed to Lee Wood, Executive Director, Human Resources/Title II/504/Title IX Coordinator and Employment Equity Officer, Gulf Coast State College, 5230 W. US Highway 98, Panama City, FL 32401.