President's Address

The AANA Welcomes You!

By Sharon P. Pearce, CRNA, MSN
As President of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), and on behalf of the more than 47,000 members of the AANA, I would like to welcome you to the nurse anesthesia profession. As student registered nurse anesthetists, you have begun a journey that will culminate in the opportunity to join one of the most respected, vital professions in America.
Although more than 20 years ago, I remember fondly my time as a student. I made lifelong friends. Gerald Hogan, CRNA one of my classmates is now the rising president of the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Keith Torgerson, CRNA, another of my classmates, serves on the board of directors of the Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). Perhaps one of you reading this message will one day be the President of the AANA!
The AANA boasts a membership of about 90 percent of all nurse anesthetists - the most of any nursing organization. As former AANA President Sandra M. Ouellette, CRNA, MEd, FAAN, said, "Without the American Medical Association, there would still be doctors. Without the American Nurses Association, there would still be nurses. Without the AANA, there would not be nurse anesthetists."
Ours is a rich history of more than 150 years of providing anesthesia care to the citizens of our country. It is important that you know and appreciate that history, because it will help support your commitment and guide you in your practice as a nurse anesthetist. An excellent resource for you to read is Watchful Care: A History of America’s Nurse Anesthetists, by Marianne Bankert. Your new career will be extremely satisfying, offering unique challenges and providing many rewards.
One of our most remarkable accomplishments has been the simultaneous growth of our profession and our association. Because they are so closely linked, it is hard to imagine the success of one without the other. As a student and future CRNA, each of you has the obligation to advocate for the profession.
So how to get involved?
On the local level:
  • Attend your state association meetings
  • Volunteer as a student representative on one of the many state committees
  • Network with the leaders in your state association and ask to shadow one of them at your state meeting
  • Listen to your instructors when they give you information about your professional association and the challenges that it faces on a daily basis
  • Become involved with your program’s student organizations; run for one of its offices
On the national level:
I highly encourage you to take the opportunity to attend as many AANA meetings as you possibly can during your time as a student. It is my firm belief that you will learn a great deal about your professional association while making lifelong friends at the same time. Four key meetings will occur during the next year and student nurse anesthetists are welcome at all of them:
  • Fall Leadership Academy (Nov. 7-9, 2014, Rosemont, Ill.)
  • Assembly of School Faculty (Feb. 26-28, 2015, New Orleans)
  • Mid-Year Assembly (April 18-22, 2015, Arlington, Va.)
  • Nurse Anesthesia Annual Congress (Aug. 29-Sept. 1, Salt Lake City)
You can also participate as a student representative on one of the following committees:
  • Education
  • Practice
  • Public Relations
  • Health and Wellness
You can also participate as a student representative on one of the following affiliates:
  • AANA Foundation
  • Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

The following offerings are available to enhance your professional growth:

  • Poster presentations
  • Publishing opportunities
  • Mentoring programs
Volunteer to promote the profession during “National Nurse Anesthetist’s Week,” the last full week of January each year. The AANA Public Relations committee chooses the most outstanding campaigns and recognizes the winners at the Annual Congress. Students often win this contest.

AANA Past President Linda Williams, CRNA, JD
with current AANA President Sharon Pearce, CRNA, MSN
Linda Williams, CRNA, JD, past president of the AANA, coined the now familiar phrase, “Students are 10 percent of our membership, but 100 percent of our future.” Leaders at the state and national level value your input as we shape our organization for the future. We need your help to continually revitalize the AANA membership through your boundless enthusiasm and fresh clinical and political perspectives.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible this coming year.
Sharon P. Pearce, CRNA, MSN
AANA President 2014-2015
President Pearce's Fellow Classmates
at their first AANA Annual Meeting
Nashville, Tenn., 1991
Front row, from left to right: Lisa Hale, Doug Turner, Dan Stanley, Lynn Hutchens Couch, Sharon Pearce, Gerald Hogan
Back row, from left to right: Keith Torgerson, Nancy Curll, Paul Welty, Kip Bland

 AANA President


Sharon P. Pearce