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Prepare for the CRNFA Exam

In this section we provide you with information you need to successfully prepare for the CRNFA exam. 

Being successful at passing the CRNFA certification exam requires two things:

  1. Having a thorough and sound foundation for the knowledge and skills required for competent clinical practice (see CRNFA Exam Content below). Knowledge can be obtained through work experiences and independent learning, as well as through formal educational programs. The experiential knowledge component of the exam requires than an individual has a minimum of 2,000 hours of work experience as a RNFA. Thus, the CRNFA exam is based on what an RNFA with 2,000 hours of practice in the OR is expected to know. The exam assesses a combination of experiential and cognitive knowledge, as together these form of the foundation of competent clinical practice.
  2. Understanding the test-taking experience. There is a definite skill in answering multiple-choice questions. Becoming familiar with techniques for responding to multiple-choice questions will improve chances of a successful performance on the CRNFA exam. You may gain exposure to taking a multiple-choice test with the CNOR practice exam which is available for purchase in the CCI bookstore. This product is designed to simulate the CRNFA testing experience.

The Competency & Credentialing Institute often receives requests for information on what to study when preparing for the Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA) exam. The following information is being offered as an example of references and resources to use when reviewing for the exam. Please feel free to modify this plan to meet your individual learning needs.

Highly Recommended References

  • Seifert, P.C. (Ed.). (2014). Core Curriculum for the RN First Assistant (5th ed.). Denver: AORN
  • AORN. (2016). Guidelines for Perioperative Practice. Denver: AORN
  • Phillip, N. (Ed.). (2017). Berry and Kohn’s Operating Room Technique (13 ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
  • Rothrock, J.C. (Ed.). (2015). Alexander's Care of the Patient in Surgery (15th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier Mosby
  • Lewis, S. L., Dirksen, S. R., Heitkemper, M. M., Bucher, L., & Camera, I. M. (2014). Medical Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby

Free resources

CRNFA Candidate Handbook and Study Plan

CRNFA Candidate Handbook

The CRNFA Candidate Handbook  outlines the CRNFA certification process and all applicable policies.  In addition, the Handbook contains important details about the Job Analysis which specifies the tasks performed by perioperative first assistant as well as the knowledge and skills required to complete those tasks. All applicants should review the CRNFA Candidate Handbook as it is invaluable in preparing for the CRNFA certification examination.

CRNFA Study Plan & Bibliography

The example CRNFA Study Plan & Bibliography demonstrates how to organize topics and references to prepare for the exam. Subjects are arranged by their relationship to commonly encountered perioperative tasks, knowledge and abilities. Keywords identify what is included in each topic and act as a reference for individual learning goals. This tool may be modified for individuals as a self-paced learning aid or used in groups as part of a CRNFA exam prep curriculum. This plan is to be used as a guide only and is not meant to serve as a comprehensive review of all available literature.