In Memoriam: Arthur J. Zwerling

​Arthur J. Zwerling

On July 25, 2014, the world of nurse anesthesia lost one of its most vigorous supporters, and the AANA movement to address chemical dependency lost one of its staunchest advocates, with the passing of Arthur J. Zwerling, CRNA, MSN, MS, DNP, DAAPM.
Zwerling’s passion and enthusiasm for helping others was inspirational. He became ardently involved with the wellness and peer assistance efforts, serving as peer assistance advisor (1998 to present) and chair of the Peer Assistance Advisors Committee (2008-2012 and co-chair 2013). He served as consultant on peer assistance and wellness to the Council for Public Interest in Anesthesia. "During his life, Art Zwerling was a beacon of hope whose light shone through the darkness that had blanketed so many for so long," said AANA Past President Terry Wicks, CRNA, MS. "Despite his passing, his spirit and his life's work will live on, through the frameworks of understanding he created, the knowledge and the love that he shared, and the countless lives that he saved."
As the abundance of credentials following his name suggest, Zwerling was a lifelong student and ardent champion of education. He was a program director at the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital Schools of Nurse Anesthesia (2002-2006). He was the adjunct faculty course director on advanced pain management modalities at the University of North Florida, and the adjunct faculty course director on pain management for advanced practice (2007-2009) at Villanova University College of Nursing.
Art Zwerling began his career as a group and family therapist and certified addictions counselor at Eagleville Hospital, Eagleville, Pa. (1977-1984), then became a physician assistant of cardiology, emergency medicine trauma and addictions at Hahnemann University (1984-1993). He also worked as clinical and didactic faculty for the Pennsylvania Hospital and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Nurse Anesthesia Program (1995-2011), and as a staff CRNA and senior clinical coordinator at the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia (1995-1999). Most recently, Zwerling served as staff Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists at Fox Chase Cancer Center (2005 to present), where he also had been clinical coordinator (1999-2002).
Zwerling was very involved with the nurse anesthesia profession at both the state and national levels. He began his association with the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists (PANA) as a member beginning in 1995. He served on the program committee as chair (1996-2002); also as vice president (2005-2006); president-elect (2006-2007); government relations committee chair (2005-2007); and trustee (2001-2003).
He served on the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA)’s ethics committee (1999-present); peer assistance task force (2000 to present); the cabinet on nursing practice (2002-2004); nominations committee (2003-2005); recruitment and retention committee (2004 to present); wellness committee member (2005); and as nursing congress member.

His volunteering efforts included serving on the AANA-Health Volunteers Overseas steering committee (2005 to present), volunteering with the nurse anesthesia programs in Belize, Eritrea and Cameroon. He volunteered with the Philadelphia Recovering Nurses Association (1988-present), serving as president. He also volunteered with the Pennsylvania Nurse Assistance Program, serving as vice president.
Zwerling was the recipient of many awards over the course of his career, including the Agatha Hodgins Award for Academic Excellence (1995); Didactic Instructor of the Year, Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia (1999, 2003); Caron Foundation: Medical Professional, Nursing (2002); Human Rights Award, Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (2003); AANA Foundation Doctoral Scholarship (2004); Impaired Practice/Peer Assistance Award (2005); and the Faces and Voices of Recovery: Vernon Johnson Award (2010), which was detailed in the September 2010 AANA NewsBulletin.
Zwerling also taught ACLS, and lectured and held workshops on numerous other topics. He was a member of several speaker bureaus. He provided expert witness testimony and chart reviews for legal cases. He was a member of honorary societies, including: Psi Chi, Sigma Theta Tau, and Alpha Eta. His professional affiliations were seemingly infinite, but included the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA), the American Nurses Association House of Delegates, International Society of Anesthesia Pharmacology, International Research Society in Anesthesia, and countless more.
Zwerling was the founder and/or moderator of several online groups and forums dealing with pain management, peer assistance and recovery, including PAIN CRNA and AIR (Anesthetists in Recovery). He also counselled innumerable colleagues and students who called the Peer Assistance Helpline for assistance with recovery.
He also contributed to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist (AANA) website’s experience when he suggested posting photographs from the nurse anesthesia programs around the country, as well as mentioning the peer assistance program on the student pages to bring awareness to the student population. He also has the distinction of being the first CRNA to be profiled in the “Why I Became a CRNA” column.
Zwerling's hard work, dedication, indefatiguable energy, encouragement and support leave a huge hole for family, friends, colleagues, students, and all whom his life touched.
Zwerling leaves behind his beloved wife, Susan; twin sons, Aaron and Rob; brother Jerry (Hannah); brothers-in-law Barry (Wendy); Neal (Lee); and Marvin Demp. A memorial service was held on Wednesday, July 30 at 9:30 a.m. at Hiway Theater, 212 Old York Rd., Jenkintown, PA 19046. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to Gift Of Life
For more information about Art's life and career, visit
In response to an outpouring of compassion from CRNAs across the country, the AANA Foundation has established the Art Zwerling Memorial Fund focused on wellness, pain management, and peer assistance. If you would like to make a donation in memory of Art, visit and select the Art Zwerling Memorial Fund from the Designation drop down.