Col. Bruce A. Schoneboom, CRNA, PhD, MHS, BSN
CRNA Since 1992
I was first introduced to the profession of nurse anesthesia when I was a surgical orderly just out of high school. My Mom was a nurse and she got me a job at the hospital where she worked. There was a nurse anesthesia program at the hospital, and I was fascinated at the work that these highly skilled professionals were providing for patients under their care. I knew then that I was going to be a nurse anesthetist.
Many years later, I had joined the Army as a registered nurse and was stationed overseas, at the time in West Germany. I wanted to see the world and that was exactly what I was doing. While overseas I learned that the Army had its own nurse anesthesia program, so I applied and was accepted. Finally, I was to become a CRNA.
I moved first to San Antonio, Texas, and eventually to Honolulu, Hawaii, where I finished school and became a staff CRNA. However, I was not finished with my education. I applied again for sponsorship to obtain my PhD. I was accepted again and moved to Bethesda, Md., to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and began my education in neuroscience.
My Army career as a CRNA has been an incredible experience with a variety of jobs and assignments. I would have to say the highlight of my career was being deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 for 12 months. I was honored to be given the responsibility of being the Commander of a small surgical hospital on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It was quite a busy year taking care of soldiers and other members of the Coalition Forces. But we also had the opportunity to provide humanitarian care to many of the local nationals near our forward operating base. I will never forget that experience, and continue to keep in touch with my brothers and sisters, both American and Afghan, to whom I became close while deployed.
I am now an educator in one of the country's top nurse anesthesia programs and continue to enjoy the profession, particularly educating the next generation of military CRNAs.
Editor's Note: In 2014, Bruce Schoneboom joined the AANA staff as Senior Director of Education and Professional Development.