Long Beach, California 2021-07-19 11:00:59 –
Bobby Baraza has been caring for patients for 17 years through her position as a registered nurse. However, for the past eight years, Barraza has expanded his role as a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) with additional training to enable surgery to be performed independently.
“It’s beneficial because we have an emergency and the patient comes straight out of the emergency room and has little time to prepare before surgery,” Baraza said. “I can jump into three different roles at a time and I’m the only one. It really helps my team.”
The road to the operating table was long. Baraza first attended East LA College, then Mount St. Mary’s University and Western Governor’s University. From the latter two, she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and business, respectively.
As a registered nurse, Baraza was accepted into UCLA’s perioperative training program. The program included additional classroom education and on-the-job training in the hospital. Because she focused on the operating room, she was educated in surgical service lines such as general, pediatric, orthopedic, and neurological.
During the training, Baraza learned to become a circular nurse who manages the operating room outside the sterile field to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for the patient and to keep the family up to date. She also learned how to become a scrub nurse to assist in sterile areas and ensured that patients and surgeons had everything they needed during surgery.
After graduating from a residency in about a year, Baraza completed another year of residency in cardiothoracic surgery. After working in the operating room for two years, she was able to take a certification exam and become a perioperative certified nurse or CNOR. Once certified, Baraza applied for UCLA’s RNFA program. This is one of only two programs in California and 13 programs nationwide.
The one-year RNFA program included additional classrooms and hands-on education, and Barraza learned to assist surgeons as well as hand them instruments in the operating room. When she became RNFA, Baraza took it one step further. Another year of education to specialize in and perform certain aspects of cardiovascular surgery, such as the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other chest organs.
“Until then, you’re still just helping,” Baraza said. “But now, in cardiac and vascular surgery, saphenous veins can be taken separately if bypass is needed.”
Baraza’s first nurse was UCLA, who continues to work as a per diem nurse.
After a rigorous experience of promoting her education, in a pinch, Baraza said that during the same procedure Baraza could be useful not only in the role of the first assistant, but also in the position of scrub and circulation nurse.
“It’s very stressful, but if you’re passionate about your work, the benefits outweigh the stress,” Baraza said.
“I love my team. We are together like a family,” she added. “I want to give 100% every time thanks to them. They give so much, so I need to do that too.”
The Long Beach Memorial, which Baraza has been active since 2010, has about five dozen RNFAs, but only Baraza is certified for cardiovascular surgery. In April, Baraza submitted her professional portfolio to become the first assistant to a certified registered nurse, and in May she qualified.
Baraza has said she wanted to be a nurse since she was a kid. Her mother managed the clinic and also fulfilled the responsibilities of many medical assistants. It was the gateway to her profession, Baraza said.
At the Memorial, Baraza was essential to the development of robotic surgery programs for the heart and chest.
“It’s really cutting edge and it’s great to be part of it,” Baraza said. “Our program has just begun.”
She is also awarded by the institution as a prominent employee.
But her goals and ambitions go beyond the operating table. Baraza, 43, said she could continue her current job for another 10 to 15 years, but is looking to her role as a nursing teacher or hospital manager. Hospitals are advocating hiring more.
“Every time we have a new perioperative nurse, I encourage them to see what my role involves to see if they like it,” Baraza says. I did. “I want to teach them. I can see that possibility [certain] People — how they are operating, how they can manage everything under the pressure and stress of intense surgery. I understand. “