1. Why did you become a CRNA?
I first discovered the profession while working as a fireman/ paramedic in Houston, Texas. My dad suffered from end stage renal failure and underwent several surgical procedures. He was always very nervous before his procedures, but the nurse anesthetist always had a way of calming him prior to rolling back. I’ll never forget the impact that had on us in feeling reassured.
The ability to take sick patients through challenging procedures is what continued my exploration into becoming a nurse anesthetist. I was pleased to find many conceptual similarities in being a paramedic and nurse anesthetist, and it became a natural transition for me professionally.
2. What in your life do you think has had the biggest impact on your anesthesia practice?
Hands down practicing as an independent practitioner to my full scope of practice. Moving to Iowa from Texas was a difficult decision for my family, but it has become one of the best decisions we could have made.
I also find humility and keeping an open mind to be very important in anesthesia practice. A unique aspect of our profession is that it involves both art and science as well as being performed primarily alone. Similar to cooking a recipe, ten people could make the same meal but each person would add their own “art” to it. The Army has allowed me to be exposed to many different ways of providing anesthesia, and I think the more we learn from each other the better we become.
3. What do you enjoy most about being a CRNA?
Reassuring and calming nervous patients in the preoperative phase is the most gratifying for me. Seeing a nervous patient and family and getting them all to take a deep breath and maybe a smile demonstrates the impact we have on the human and caring side of people every day. I believe that is a key characteristic that separates us from other providers. Nursing is our foundation, and we should never lose our ability to show caring and compassion.
4. What has been your favorite part about getting involved in leadership with IANA? What would you tell members who have been considering joining IANA leadership?
My favorite part would be getting to meet so many amazing people in Iowa and our profession. I’m relatively new to Iowa and continue to be amazed but not surprised at how kind and hardworking people are here.
A colleague of mine once said that as new nurse anesthetists we inherited this profession from the one’s who came before us. They did all the hard work to make our profession what it is today. Now it is our job to ensure we advance the profession for those who will replace us someday.
I think members would be surprised at how little time making an impact actually takes especially when you’re on the right side of the argument. Nurse anesthetists have been providing safe, cost effective care to people in need for well over a century. That continues today as our healthcare needs continue to change rapidly. We are a 21st century solution to some of America’s greatest healthcare challenges.
5. What do you see as the main priorities for IANA in 2020?
Our first priority is always to our Iowa members and preventing any legislation that would restrict or negatively impact our practice. Iowa is the standard-bearer for the country, and it is important we continue to lead the way. Through those ends Iowa nurse anesthetists should understand the impact they have individually by being an AANA member. A great portion of their dues go directly to Iowa to help protect and advance their practice. Finally, as 2020 goes, IANA will continue to provide guidance regarding COVID and the ever-changing environment as it relates to nurse anesthetists across the state.