A Brief Biography of Karin S. Selbach
Karin Sue Kokos Selbach, RN-retired (1952–2018), was a healthcare professional who believed strongly in collaborative practice. She helped many young people develop their professional paths in medicine, and blazed a trail herself as a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA).
Karin worked closely with Dr. Jerrald Goldman to develop a collaborative orthopedic surgery practice before others in the specialty knew the benefits of such a shared professional practice.
Karin was a nurse for 40 years as well as a San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean sailor and racer. Once she received her nursing diploma, she worked on a hospital floor and in the operating room at a Cleveland trauma center. She served as head nurse of Neurosurgery at Kaiser in Redwood City and ran the Cardiovascular Surgery Research lab, whose research solved the rejection problem for patients receiving new organs. She conducted other research and was working for a medical instrumentation company when she discovered a passion for sailboat racing. She took a part-time job as a sailmaker while working as an OR nurse through a registry for six years before becoming an OR nurse at Alameda Hospital, later transferring to the Emergency Room.
Karin became the first RNFA in the East Bay and spent time educating surgeons and administrators about this new nursing role. She got involved in the political process to pass legislation so an RNFA could bill and be paid for services. She assisted on procedures in many medical areas, with her practice evolving into Orthopedics. She worked with a number of surgeons and eventually with Dr. Goldman, who was the team orthopedist for the Oakland A’s.
Karin was married for 30 years to Alameda real estate agent and fellow sailor, John Selbach.