Registered Nurse - First Assistant - 921

Ontario College Graduate Certificate
Nursing Students

**Next Intake of Students Fall 2018**

Order of Studies: 

Courses Fall Winter Spring
RNFA Theory 1    X    
RNFA Theory 2          X  
RNFA Laboratory Practice          X
RNFA Independent Internship          X
RNFA Surgeon Mentored Internship          X

This program is comprised of part-time, online independent study, a full-time didactic component and a clinical internship.

The program is offered online through our Elearn platform in terms 1 & 2.

In term 3, students complete a 60 hour laboratory experience at the Mohawk college campus (dates TBA- accommodations will be the student's responsibility) , a 50 hour Independent Internship, and a 175 hour surgeon mentored internship. 

Please see the Admission & Registration tab for information on requirements to begin this program. 

Course descriptions can be found in the "program of studies" section. 



Program Contact
Continuing Education Health and Nursing

In order to be eligible for this program, you must satisfy all of the following requirements:

  • Current RN license to practice with the College of Nurses in the province of which you intend to complete the final internship
  • Minimum of 5 years current perioperative nursing experience (full-time or equivalent)
  • Canadian Nurses Association National Certification CPN(C) or CNOR equivalent
  • Current BLS (Basic Life Support) Certification
  • Current ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) Certification
  • Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada membership
  • Letter of support from your Clinical Manager
  • Letter of intent to mentor from the Surgeon(s).

There is no application process for this program. You can begin by registering for the first course – NRSG10039, RNFA Theory 1. After registration, you must send an email to cehealth [at] and provide documented proof that you meet all of the admission requirements.


The program of studies displayed below applies to students starting the program in the 2017/18 academic year. Students who began in other academic years may require different courses to be eligible to graduate. If you have questions regarding a strategy for completion contact Continuing Education - Health and Nursing 

Click on the Course number or Course title for more information on each course.

Visit the Mohawk College Bookstore Textbook Search (opens in new window) for information on textbooks.

A selection of courses are available each term. Courses that are currently not available (N/A) for registration may be offered in the future – check back frequently.

Mandatory Courses

Register Course number Course title Course Hours
Course description: Develop the theoretical foundation for RNFA practice, through 32 hours of facilitated part-time independent study working with computer based modules. Explore the role diversity of the first assistant and the interdependent relationship with the physician and nurses for the benefit of the patient. Learn to use the nursing diagnosis as the defining guide in planning and implementing patient care.
Credits: 3
Course description: Enhance your theoretical foundation with a focus on intraoperative knowledge and technique necessary for assuming responsibilities of the RN First Assistant. Use the nursing diagnosis as the defining guide in planning and implementing patient care.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: NRSG10039
Course description: Complete 175 surgical assisting hours with a surgeon or Certified RNFA mentored practice and 50 hours of clinical time for perioperative nurses in the first assistant role. You will be required to keep a log of surgeries and clinical experiences and progress will be monitored.
Credits: 4
Prerequisites: NRSG10041 and HLTH10223
Course description: Course includes 50 hours of independent RNFA clinical time for perioperative nurses in the first assistant role. Students will take an active part in determining objectives, identifying learning resources and evaluating attainment of goals. Clinical hours will include time with an infection control nurse, pathology, radiology, postoperative rounds with the surgeon mentor and office visits.
Credits: 1
Prerequisites: NRSG10041 and HLTH10223
Course description: Develop expertise with enhanced functions required to address the RNFA intraoperative responsibilities for assisting at surgery. This face-to-face full-time tutorial/lab, offered over eight to ten days, involves 60 hours of interactive learning activities with skills labs, led by RNFAs, physicians and perioperative nursing faculty.
Credits: 4
Prerequisites: NRSG10040 and HLTH10223

Preclinical / Clinical Information

Students preparing for Clinical Placement should visit our Preclinical / Clinical webpage for details and information on the process.

The didactic component / laboratory practice will be held in Hamilton (60 hours total). Accommodations are the responsibility of the student.

The Surgeon Mentored Internship will require a surgeon sponsor for the hospital of your choice. The clinical time will include intraoperative time with the surgeon.

The Independent Internship will include time where you will attend clinics, pathology, radiology, infection control and patient hospital visits.