Sue Pair was a nurse who came with experience when she decided to start in the anesthesia program at the University of Iowa. Prior to starting the CRNA program, she worked on an orthopedic floor for a short time, and then a critical care unit at Mercy in Des Moines for about 10 years. During that time she earned her MSN in nursing education, was an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Mercy College, and taught critical care nursing in the ASN program. She had always been interested in anesthesia- specifically the science, the autonomy and the challenge anesthesia brings; however, the University of Iowa didn’t always have a Des Moines student and with her family, including two girls ages 2 and 6, and her support system located in Des Moines, she couldn’t move away. As soon as the school offered a Des Moines student spot, she applied and was in fact the first Des Moines student who commuted to Iowa City for classes. She graduated in 2007 and worked at Lutheran in Des Moines for about 7 years before taking on her current role as Chief CRNA at MercyOne Newton.
Mrs. Pair considers herself to be a natural born leader, and finds this aspect of herself to have the biggest impact on her anesthesia practice; she tries to channel these tendencies in both her personal and professional life. “CRNAs are leaders in their education, in the OR, in their hospitals, in their communities, and at the state and national levels… When I am around other CRNAs it is like I handpicked a group of people with very similar qualities to myself.” Mrs. Pair has used these qualities recently to start a ketamine infusion clinic in Newton for the treatment of depression, PTSD, and some chronic pain, a desperately needed mental health treatment in her community.
Mrs. Pair finds leadership opportunities not only in her practice, but also through the state and national CRNA organizations, as they are the voices that represent CRNA practice. “CRNAs are a small but powerful group.” She recognizes the professional responsibility CRNAs have to support their organizations, and knows without the work of IANA, supported by AANA, none of our practice rights would exist. Her participation on the IANA board is a way to channel her skills and give back to the state. Her involvement initially started with attending fundraisers, learning both business and political issues, which has helped her with her progression through the board to now Vice President of IANA. Mrs. Pair also sees the importance of ingraining professional involvement in the CRNA educational systems and how this will reduce lack of involvement with our 1-5 year CRNAs. “The University of Iowa Anesthesia Program should be a model to all other CRNA programs on how to accomplish this as evidenced by board participation by former students and stable, high membership numbers in our small state.”
Mrs. Pair is excited for the future of CRNAs and for IANA, though she knows to stay vigilant of potential threats. Her main priorities for 2020 include preventing AA legislation and being alert for anything else that could negatively impact our practice, providing high quality education to members, building up PAC funds, and responsibly managing our finances. She views Iowa as being a national leader to assist other states in removing supervision and obtaining full practice and prescriptive authority. This process has already begun with Iowa CRNAs on the AANA board, supporting other state presidents, and speaking at other state and national meetings, sharing our recipe for success. One other essential thing Mrs. Pair would like to work on is spreading awareness of the CRNA profession at nursing schools around the state. “We will need more CRNAs to fill the workforce of the many looming retirements in our state…” From her long history of leadership, to her vision for the future, IANA is proud to have Sue Pair as one of our own.