Randy Cornelius

Randy Cornelius, IANA President

The path that led Randy Cornelius, current IANA President, to a career in nurse anesthesia is one that is probably familiar to many CRNAs, both past and present. After graduating high school in Janesville, a small town in rural Northeast Iowa, he entered the United States Army where he became a mechanic for the iconic Huey helicopter. His service in the active Army brought him to locations across the globe, from his deployment to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, to a year in Germany, as well as time spent in Haiti where he provided support for a United Nations air ambulance mission. It was this experience in Haiti that proved pivotal as it was here that he developed his passion for healthcare and medicine and led to his decision to become a registered nurse.

Upon his discharge from the Army, President Cornelius transferred to the Iowa National Guard while he obtained his nursing degree at Allen College in Waterloo, Iowa. After a deployment to Iraq, he worked at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics before beginning the nurse anesthesia program there. He graduated with his Masters of Nursing Science in Nurse Anesthesia in 2009 and once again transferred military branches, this time to the Army Reserves. He has since been deployed twice to Afghanistan, once in 2013 and again in 2017. President Cornelius credits his military experience in defining his anesthesia practice. “It has helped me learn to be adaptable as well having the ability to walk into any situation and become a team player quickly. Some of the locations I have practiced in have been in austere and hostile locations, so you don’t have all the luxuries of what you are used to, or having everything you want, so you learn to adjust and adapt to what is available quickly.”

Mr. Cornelius also recognizes the importance of continued education, training, and the expanded roles CRNAs can play within our healthcare system. Last year he completed a fellowship in acute surgical pain management from Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia. “CRNAs are instrumental in aspects of acute pain in the hospital and ambulatory setting,” he says. “We are also becoming integral in the implementation and auditing of hospital-based protocols such as ERAS across all surgical specialties, with the minimization of pain being a major driving factor and outcome within these protocols. CRNAs are involved in all facets of pain care.”

As we enter into a new decade the future for CRNAs appears as bright as ever. However, the landscape of healthcare is rapidly changing and CRNAs have the opportunity to be at the table and be involved in these important decisions or let others make those decisions for us. President Cornelius sees IANA as a vital component to ensuring CRNAs continue to help shape healthcare decisions. “There is always strength in numbers, which gives every CRNA a louder voice about issues. In addition, being members of the associations gives you an extra level of advocacy in protecting your practice, keeping CRNAs up to date with best practice guidelines, as well as networking with other CRNAs and friendship.”

If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding anesthesia practice in Iowa or want to become more involved in our state association, please email us, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest news!

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