American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants
Prev MonthPrev Month Next MonthNext Month
Fundamentals of Robotic Surgical Bedside Assist for Advanced Practice Providers-AASPA 2022 Annual CME Meeting Workshop
Saturday, October 15, 2022, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM CDT
Category: Events

AASPA 2022 Annual CME Meeting Workshop

Fundamentals of Robotic Surgical Bedside Assist for Advanced Providers

Saturday, October 15th, 2–4:30pm CT

Cost: $250
Space Available: 20 Attendees

Register for the Workshop and Annual Meeting

Course Description


  • Demonstrate improvement in didactic knowledge of robotic surgery with a pre and post course assessment.
  • Perform proper Endoscope handling and port placement.
  • Effectively dock the robotic surgical system to the patient model.
  • Demonstrate correct identification of robotic instruments, instrument insertion techniques, and safe instrument removal.
  • Become familiar with the robotic surgical system troubleshooting techniques, including cleaning and defogging the endoscope, managing instrument and arm collisions, port dislodgment, recoverable faults, and steps to convert to open procedures.
  • Practice additional techniques, including introduction of raytec sponge, safe suture needle exchange, deployment of specimen bag.

To improve the knowledge, competence, and confidence of Advance Practice Providers (APPs) in the role of beside assist in robotic assisted surgical cases.

Increasing numbers of faculty that are performing robotic surgery. APPs as bedside assistants has precedent and the need for surgical assistants trained to bedside assist in robotic surgery has increased. Roles for an APP as a robotic surgical bedside assistant include:

  • support of new faculty who require trained beside assists,
  • academic institutions where fellows rely on bedside assists to gain console time,
  • development of new skills of existing OR APPs as a need to acclimate to new cases. Well-trained surgical APPs are a valuable resource that may provide quality bedside assistance.

Expected Outcomes:
Participants in this course can expect to improve their didactic knowledge about bedside assisting robotic surgery demonstrated by the pre and post program assessment. They will become more knowledgeable, competent, and confident with the robotic surgical instruments, robotic surgery set-up and troubleshooting, and utilization of accessory components of robotic surgery.


Stacia Gollihar, MMS, PA-C
Stacia graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and subsequently earned her Master in Medical Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL. She has eleven years of surgical experience at MD Anderson Cancer Center with increasing involvement in robotic surgery during her tenure. She has experience bedside assisting robotic surgical cases in gastric cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, hernia repair, complex abdominal wall reconstruction, and benign gallbladder disease. She has assumed the lead, with Dr. David Santos, in the initiative to implement a formal APP Robotic Bedside Assist Training Protocol within the department and potentially institutionally.

Heather Gibson, MPAS, PA-C
Heather received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minor in Neuroscience from Texas A&M University in 2010. She then completed a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013. After graduation, she joined the Surgical Oncology department at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2014. She continues to work in the department within the Acute Care and General Surgery Section. For the past five years Heather primary serves as a first assist and primary PA for her faculty. The surgical practice involves primarily robotic cases in hernia repair, abdominal wall reconstruction, and benign gallbladder disease. She was one of the lead proctors on a new training initiative within the department for training qualified APP first assist for robotic assisted surgeries. She has first assisted on over 100 robotic assisted cases. 

Jenilette Cristo, MPAS, PA-C
Jenilette received her Bachelor of Sciences in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University and Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch. She then joined the department of Surgical Oncology in MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2015, taking care of patients with hepatobiliary cancers in the outpatient clinic and operating room (OR) setting. In 2017, Jenilette played a significant part in the International Hepatopancreatobiliary Association-supported medical trip at Nicaragua in December 2017 where she provided a presentation on several hepatobiliary clinical cases and played a significant role during OR cases. Moreover, she has published and presented at national and international meetings, which includes introducing the roles of surgical hepatobiliary Advance Practice Provider (APP) in the research and operative settings. Jenilette is also active as a preceptor to Physician Assistant students and mentors to the MD Anderson APP fellows. She has been received the Department of Surgical Oncology’s Advanced Practice Provider of the year award several times. She currently works as first assist and primary PA for Dr. David Santos who is a leader in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for hernia surgery and complex abdominal wall reconstructions.

Robin Love, MPAS, PA-C

Robin Love PA-C received her Bachelors in Health Science from the University of Florida and Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Following graduation, she accepted a position as a PA with the Heart Failure Surgery team at Memorial Hermann- UT Health in Houston, TX. She then went on to accept a position at MD Anderson with the Surgical Oncology department with whom she previously completed a clinical rotation during PA school. Her position mainly is in the operating room working with melanoma surgery and general surgery with a focus on robotic surgery. She was the first graduate of the newly developed departmental robotic first assist training program at MD Anderson in 2022.