Jan Stewart Memorial Wellness Lecture Series

Jan Stewart Speaker 2014 - CRNA Anita Bertrand

"Making Lemonade: One CRNA's Story of Addiction and Recovery"
AANA 2014 Nurse Anesthesia Annual Congress
Photo: from left to right, Anita Bertrand, CRNA, MS; Linda Stone, CRNA, MSN; Sarah Stewart Gomes and daughter Amelya.
See also the July 2014 Wellness Milestones article, July 2014: Moving Forward by Looking Back

Anita Bertrand, CRNA, MS is a member of the AANA Peer Assistance Advisors committee (PAAC) and provides State Peer Assistance for Texas CRNAs; 
she helps guide others who are suffering from the disease of addiction find treatment and recovery.  Anita’s story is documented in Case #1 of the article, Two New Case Reports of Propofol Abuse and a Pattern Analysis of the Literature, by CRNA authors Welliver, Bertrand, Garza and Baker. After fifteen years practicing in the nursing field, she experienced substance abuse and addiction. The suspected trigger was a post-operative infusion of fentanyl, which along with her genetic predisposition to addiction, soon led to diversion and self-administration of fentanyl. Anita also authored the Peer Assistance News article in the May 2013 AANA NewsBulletin (member log-in required).

USA Today Addresses Drug Diversion Issue
A video interview with Anita is featured in a USA Today article, “Doctors, Medical Staff on Drugs Put Patients at Risk,” published in print and online editions on April 16, 2014. The impetus for the article was the recently formed Drug Diversion Prevention Committee’s (DDPC) work to bring awareness to the topic with the goal for broad based nationwide improvements in preventing diversion. Learn more (member log-in required).

HONOReform Blog
HONOReform's patient safety advocacy blog includes Anita's story to bring awareness of addicted healthcare workers to support patiety safety efforts: http://www.honoreform.org/blog/ 

Reducing the Stigma of Addiction
Much has changed on the stigma of addiction in nurse anesthesia since Jan Stewart’s tragic death in 2002. Many feel this can be attributed largely to her family’s choice to, "open the door to the realization that the anesthesia community had a very serious wellness and chemical dependency problem. This led to the realization that no one is immune from the risk, and when the risk is ignored, our whole profession loses" according to Terry Wicks, CRNA, MHS, former AANA President. See video of Jan's daughter Sarah speaking of her mother's legacy.

Another leading factor in reducing the stigma is scientific advances in understanding the genetic predispositions and the “on switch” of an addicted brain. For more on this topic, see Wearing Masks and the Wellness/Chemical Dependency in the Nurse Anesthesia Profession online modules.

Past Speakers in the Series​ 

 Speaker Series


 About Jan Stewart


Named after our respected colleague, 1999 - 2000 AANA President Jan Stewart, CRNA, ARNP, the Jan Stewart Memorial Wellness Lecture Series features speakers on wellness-related topics at each AANA Nurse Anesthesia Annual Congress. 

Link to more info on:

  • Jan's achievements as AANA President
  • Jan's daughter Sarah speaks about her mother in the About Wellness video

 To support speakers

Contribute to the AANA Foundation to support the Jan Stewart Memorial Wellness Lecture Series, which provides a topic at each AANA Nurse Anesthesia Annual Congress to increase awareness of anesthesia professionals' occupational risk of chemical dependency.

Please designate "Wellness/
Jan Stewart Fund" when making your donation.