CRNA Profiles

CRNA Profiles present biographical information on deceased nurse anesthetists who played prominent roles in nurse anesthesia and AANA history. For more information, please contact the Archivist via email at

Mary Costello (1943-2001) Educator, AANA President


Mary Costello founded the Cincinnati General Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia (later the University of Cincinnati School of Nurse Anesthesia) in 1945 and served as its director for 27 years. Costello was one of the first nurse anesthetists to become adept at the administration of regional anesthesia and instructed nurse anesthetists from around the country in regional techniques.

Costello also dedicated a large part of her career to the AANA and the Ohio Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She served on the AANA Board of Trustees in 1949-1951 and 1953-1956, and she was AANA President in 1963-1964. She served on many AANA committees including the Curriculum Committee and the Government Relations Committee. She was awarded the AANA’s Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator Award in 1987. Costello was president of the Ohio Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1947-1948 and was granted life membership in 1970.

Sources for Additional Information on Costello

Costello's Bibliography

Mildred Clark (1915-1994) Chief of the US Army Nurse Corps

Mildred Clark
Colonel Mildred Clark had a long and distinguished career in the Army Nurse Corps (ANC). Six months after joining the ANC in 1938, she took her anesthesia training at Jewish Hospital, Philadelphia. She was stationed at Schofield Barracks when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Later she served in leadership roles within the United States and at the 382d Station Hospital in Korea. In 1947 she became the Director of Nurses of the XXIV Corps in Korea and less than a year later, Chief Nurse of the Far East Command in Tokyo. Her assignment as Procurement Officer in the Surgeon General’s Office tested her skills and creativity to recruit nurses during a nation-wide nursing shortage. In 1963, she was the first nurse anesthetist to be appointed as Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and served until her retirement in 1967.

Sources for Additional Information on Clark

Gertrude Fife (1902-1980) Educator, AANA President

Gertrude Fife
Gertrude L. Fife was born in 1902 in Vermont and received her nurses training at Fanny Allen Hospital School of Nursing, Winooski, Vt. A 1925 graduate of Lakeside Hospital School of Anesthesia in Cleveland, Ohio, Fife was appointed a member of the staff immediately upon graduation and was Agatha Hodgins’ first assistant. She was a charter member of the AANA; at the June 1931 organizational meeting of the AANA she made the motion that a national organization of nurse anesthetists be formed. She served as AANA’s second president in 1933-1935. Fife was instrumental in planning the first AANA annual meeting, which was held in Milwaukee in 1933. She published the first issue of the AANA Journal in 1933 and served as Journal editor and chair of the Publishing Committee until 1944. She also was AANA’s treasurer from 1935 to 1950.

Fife was appointed director of the University Hospitals of Cleveland (formerly Lakeside Hospital) School of Anesthesia in 1934 after Agatha Hodgins’ retirement; she served in that position and as director of University Hospitals’ anesthesia department until her own retirement in 1946.

She was the recipient of AANA's Award of Appreciation in 1950 and the Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in 1978. Fife died on October 6, 1980.

Sources for Additional Information on Fife

Fife's Bibliography

Edith Graham (1871-1943) Anesthetist to the Mayo Brothers

Edith Graham
Edith Graham was the first anesthetist at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. In fact, she was the first trained nurse in the community, having received her nursing instruction at Women’s Hospital in Chicago. Graham provided safe anesthesia for Dr. Charles M. Mayo and Dr. William J. Mayo’s patients from 1889 to 1893, her career ceasing upon her marriage to Charles Mayo. She was the hospital’s only anesthetist during those years.

Sources for Additional Information on Graham

  • Pougiales J. The first anesthetizers at the Mayo ClinicJ Am Assoc Nurse Anesth. 1970;38(3):235-241.
  • Thatcher VS. History of Anesthesia with Emphasis on the Nurse Specialist. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott; 1953.

Florence Henderson (1876-1956) Anesthetist to Surgeon Charles Mayo

Florence Henderson
Florence Henderson was another prominent nurse anesthetist at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. She provided safe anesthesia to Dr. Charles Mayo’s patients from 1904 to 1917, and was a specialist in the administration of ether. She disseminated her knowledge by speaking at medical societies and publishing articles. In 1913 she read her paper, “Ether Anesthesia,” before the Southern Minnesota Medical Association. She was the only nurse to speak, and her paper was published the next year in the St. Paul Medical Journal. In 1917 she moved to California and provided anesthesia for a group of surgeons until her retirement in the 1920s. 

Sources for Additional Information on Henderson

Henderson's Bibliography

  • Henderson F. The nurse as an anesthetist. American Journal of Nursing. 1909;9(12):947-949, discussion 950-953.
  • Henderson F. Ether anesthesia. St. Paul Medical Journal. 1914;16(2):74-81, discussion 81-82. [Reprinted in the AANA Journal]
  • Henderson F. Observations drawn from an experience of twenty-two thousand surgical anesthetics. Southern California Practitioner. 1917;32:154-158

Agatha Hodgins (1877-1945) Educator, Founder of AANA

Agatha Hodgins
Agatha Hodgins was born in Toronto, Canada in 1877. She graduated from the Boston City Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1900 and went to work at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1908, surgeon George Crile asked her to be his anesthetist. Hodgins soon began to instruct nurses in the administration of anesthesia. In 1914, she served with Crile and others from Lakeside Hospital in France during World War I and taught many how to administer nitrous oxide-oxygen anesthesia. Hodgins formalized the Lakeside Hospital School of Anesthesia in 1915 after her return from France, and served as director from 1915 to 1933.
On June 17, 1931, she gathered together a group of Lakeside Hospital School of Anesthesia alumnae and held the organizational meeting of the National Association of Nurse Anesthetists (renamed the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1939) at Lakeside Hospital. She was elected the first president of AANA (1931-1933) and was named Honorary President in 1933. She served as a Trustee from 1933 to 1945.
Hodgins retired in 1933 after suffering a heart attack, yet remained involved in association activities. Hodgins died March 24, 1945, in Chatham, Mass.

Sources for Additional Information on Hodgins

Hodgins' Bibliography

Alice Hunt (1880-1956) Instructor at Yale School of Medicine

Alice Hunt
Alice Hunt was born in England in 1880 and received her nursing training at Union Hospital Training School in Fall River, Mass. After graduating in 1904, she worked as a nurse at surgeon Philemon Truesdale’s hospital in Fall River. Truesdale had seen anesthesia administered by nurses at the Mayo Clinic, and in 1908 when his physician anesthetist D. R. Ryder decided to focus on otolaryngology, Truesdale asked Hunt to become his anesthetist. Ryder taught her the technique of open drop ether; she then spent a week at the Mayo Clinic, followed by a trip to Providence, R.I., where she learned the administration of nitrous oxide-ether.1(p79)

In 1917 Hunt was asked to go to Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston to replace nurse anesthetist Gertrude Gerrard who was overseas for the war. Here she trained both nurses and  medical interns in the administration of anesthesia and gained recognition for her skillful administration of nitrous oxide-oxygen anesthesia. After the war ended, Samuel Harvey, professor of surgery at Yale, heard of Hunt’s skill in the nitrous oxide-oxygen technique and asked Hunt to send him an anesthetist. Hunt herself accepted his offer, and she was appointed as instructor of anesthesia with university rank on March 1, 1922. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1930. Hunt also worked as an anesthetist at Grace-New Haven Community Hospital.

Hunt retired on June 30, 1948. To acknowledge her 26 years of service, the Board of Permanent Officers of the Yale University School of Medicine placed a tribute to her in their meeting minutes. It read in part1(pp101-2)

"Miss Hunt is truly a pioneer nurse anesthetist, largely self-taught by working with surgeons who had a natural prior interest in anesthesia. Without formal recognition, she developed a school of anesthesia here which attracted and trained a large number of competent nurse anesthetists. Because she was a student by nature Miss Hunt acquired a good working knowledge of the anesthesia literature, and was skillful in its practical application. Thus she was competent to teach nurses, medical students, and house officers alike.

"She was among the first practitioners of the art to adopt in succession such agents as nitrous oxide-oxygen with closed-circuit rebreathing, avertin, ethylene, and cyclopropane. Under her jurisdiction the flammable and explosive gases were employed here for about twenty years without a single disastrous explosive episode. 

"Under all conditions of stress, strain and fatigue Miss Hunt was ever a gentlewoman, with a supreme devotion to the welfare of every patient. During the exigencies of the recent war, Miss Hunt carried on for four years in her department almost single-handed—a responsibility and labor for which the school and hospital are indebted beyond words."

Hunt died in 1956 at age 76 after a long illness.


1. Thatcher VS. History of Anesthesia with Emphasis on the Nurse Specialist. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott;1953. 
Hunt's Bibliography

​Helen Lamb (1899-1979) Educator, AANA President

Helen Lamb
Helen Lamb was born on September 28, 1899, in Butler, Mo. She received her nursing education at Christian Church Hospital School of Nursing, Kansas City, Mo, and her RN license in 1921. She took her anesthesia training at Lakeside Hospital School of Anesthesia, Cleveland, Ohio, and was retained as a staff anesthetist after graduation. In 1927 she was recruited by thoracic surgeon Evarts A. Graham, the head of surgery at Barnes Hospital, St Louis, Mo., to become his anesthetist.

Lamb had a distinguished career at Barnes. She founded the School of Anesthesia in 1929 and served as director until her retirement in 1951. She administered the first endotracheal anesthetic in the United States for Graham, and she developed and administered the anesthetic for the world’s first successful pneumonectomy, performed by Graham, in 1933. She developed the intratracheal stylus for anesthesia and also collaborated with Dr. Richard von Foregger in the development of the von Foregger anesthesia machine.

Lamb was heavily involved with the AANA and helped shape it early years. She was a charter member of the AANA (then called the National Association of Nurse Anesthetists) and was present at its organizational meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1931. She chaired the AANA Education Committee numerous times (1933-1940, 1942-1946) and worked to establish the curriculum and minimum standards for schools of nurse anesthesia. She served as 3rd vice president (1931-1933) and trustee (1933-1938, 1942-1946), and was elected as AANA's fifth president (1940-1942). Lamb received the AANA along with honorary life membership to AANA in 1956. She was the second recipient of the Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in 1976. In 1980, the Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator Award was established in her name. Lamb organized the Missouri Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1935 and served as its first president.

Lamb died on September 3, 1979, in San Diego, Calif.

Additional Sources of Information on Lamb

Lamb's Bibliography

Alice Magaw (1860-1928) "Mother of Anesthesia"

Alice Magaw
Alice Magaw was born November 9, 1860, in Cashocton, Ohio. She attended the Women’s Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago from 1887 to 1889, and after graduation she worked as a private duty nurse in Chicago.
In 1893, Magaw became the anesthetist for Drs. William J. and Charles H. Mayo at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., a position she held until 1908 when she married Dr. George Kessel. In 1899, Magaw became the first nurse anesthetist to be published when the Northwestern Lancet printed her article “Observations in Anesthesia.” Five more articles would follow. Charles Mayo bestowed upon her the name “Mother of Anesthesia” for her mastery of open drop ether.
Magaw died on February 17, 1928, in Hudson, Wis.
Sources for Additional Information on Magaw
Magaw's Bibliography

Florence McQuillen (1903-1981) First AANA Executive Director

Florence McQuillen
Florence McQuillen was born in Mahtwa, Minnesota, and graduated from the Central School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota in 1925. She received her anesthesia education at the Minneapolis General Hospital in 1926. Anesthesiologist John S. Lundy invited McQuillen to join his staff at the Mayo Clinic in 1927. She worked closely with Lundy as chief nurse anesthetist and as a clinical instructor, and collaborated with him in editing and abstracting articles for Anesthesia Abstracts.

In 1948 McQuillen became the first AANA Executive Director, a position she held until her retirement in 1970. In her 22 years as Executive Director, McQuillen was influential in virtually all areas of the AANA’s growth and expansion. Under her guidance, the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare officially recognized the AANA’s authority to grant accreditation for nurse anesthesia programs and to grant certification for nurse anesthetists. She also instituted the AANA’s voluntary continuing education program, which made the AANA the first professional nursing organization to recognize the need for continuing professional education; this eventually led to the adoption of a mandatory CE program. She received the AANA Award of Appreciation in 1970 and the Agatha Hodgins Award of Outstanding Accomplishment in 1981.

Sources for Additional Information on McQuillen 

McQuillen's Bibliography 

Ruth Satterfield (1913-2008) First Nurse Consultant to the Army Surgeon General

Ruth Satterfield
Ruth Pacini Satterfield was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania in 1913—the third of ten children. After graduating from high school in 1930, she went into nursing at Georgetown University Hospital's diploma program. She continued her education at a number of institutions, including Catholic University, Georgetown University, and Western Reserve University. It was at Western Reserve University that she received her Certificate in Anesthesia. Satterfield dedicated her life to the development and advancement of nurse anesthesia education, pursuing advanced degrees to increase her effectiveness as an educator and a clinician. She earned a BS in Nursing Education from University of Rochester, and a Master’s degree in Nursing Education from Columbia University.

The majority of her career was spent in the Army Nurse Corps, which she joined in 1940. Just one year later, she opened a nurse anesthesia course at Fort Jackson in North Carolina. She served as education director of all army schools of nurse anesthesia; director of the Army Nurse Corps Anesthesia Course at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C.; and concluded her army career as the first nurse ever to be appointed Consultant to the Army Surgeon General. During her tenure as Consultant, the army anesthesia curriculum was revised extending the program from 12 to 18 months, and nurse anesthesia programs were established at three Army Medical Centers, bringing the total number of schools to seven. COL Satterfield retired from service in 1968, but remained actively engaged in the field of nurse anesthesia.

She continued her work as the Senior On-Site Accreditation Visitor for Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (1968-1981) and as the Educational Consultant to the Council on Accreditation (1975-1985). She remained dedicated to the task of accreditation as Consultant Emeritus to the Council for years. Her honors include the second Oak Leaf Cluster to the Army Commendation Medal for her work as Special Course Director, Anesthesia, William Beaumont General Hospital; the prestigious Order of Military Medical Merit for her “sustained contributions to the betterment of Army medicine;” and the first "A" prefix for Military Occupational Excellency. Satterfield was also the first recipient of the AANA Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in 1975.

Ruth Satterfield passed away on March 1, 2008 at the age of 94 in her home in El Paso, Texas. She is buried at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.

Sources for Additional Information on Satterfield 

Helen Vos (1914-2007) Educator, AANA President

Helen Vos
Helen Pauline Vos was born on July 10, 1914 at the family farm in Mahaska County, Iowa. She was the fourth of six children—four girls and two boys. She completed her nursing training at Deaconess Hospital in Marshalltown, Iowa. In 1942, she joined the Army Nurses Corps and served for four years. Vos was stationed in Seward, Alaska working aHelen Vos in the Nurse Corpss an OR nurse for most of her time in the service, but was later transferred to Lawson General, a large Army hospital outside of Atlanta, where she was trained in anesthesiology. After leaving the Army Nurses Corps in 1946, Vos attended the University of Michigan Hospital School of Anesthesia to formalize her training as a nurse anesthetist, and later Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she earned her BSN. Helen Vos started the nurse anesthesia program at Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan less than three years after graduating from her own program. She served as the school’s first Program Director from 1950-1954 when she was faced with an exciting new opportunity.

Helen Vos was invited to go to Pakistan to teach nurses anesthesia, and she enthusiastically accepted the call. From 1954-1958, Vos served as Director of the School of Anesthesia at United Christian Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan. The mission hospital served as a base for many surgeries and new students. At that time, textbooks for anesthesia were rarely written in any language but English so students had to learn English in order to train as nurse anesthetists. Vos taught her students a number of new techniques, including intravenous anesthesia and intubation. On her way home, Vos traveled extensively; she visited Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii.

Vos in pakistan

Vos became the Educational Director for the School of Nurse Anesthesia at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis after her return to the states in 1958. She was named the second director of the North Carolina Baptist Hospital School of Anesthesia, Winston-Salem, NC (1963-1977), where she was also appointed Assistant Professor, Allied Health Programs, Bowman Gray School of Medicine. She traveled throughout the country presenting continuing education lectures and taught countless numbers of CRNAs the meaning of the “three-lead EKG.” She served as the 1965-1966 AANA President and was presented with the AANA Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in 1979 and the Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator Award in 1996.

Helen Vos died on October 16, 2007 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her career was marked by dedication to the education of nurse anesthetists both in the United States and abroad. Her passion for teaching continued throughout her life and is still honored today. 

A scholarship was established in her memory for students in the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and the AANA presents the Helen P. Vos Memorial Lecture at the Annual Congress each year.

Sources for Additional Information on Vos 

Vos' Bibliography 

Sophie Winton (1887-1989) World War I Anesthetist

Sophie Winton
A practitioner in anesthesia for more than 50 years, Sophie Winton began her career at Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis where she was trained in anesthesia. In 1918 she joined the Nursing Corps, then part of the Red Cross, and was assigned to Mobile Hospital No. 1 in the Chateau-Thierry area in France, often giving as many as 25-30 anesthetics a day with open drop ether and chloroform. She received the French Croix de Guerre and six oversea service bars for her service on the front lines during World War I.

In 1933, she lent her financial support in a test case in California that was to have far-reaching effects on the practice of nurse anesthesia: Chalmers-Francis v Nelson. Winton was an early independent practitioner and managed her own dental and plastic surgery clinic in California until 1960. She was awarded honors by the Mexican Dental Association in conjunction with the International Dental Association for her advancement in the delivery of dental anesthesia. In 1984 she was presented with the AANA’s Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment.

Sources for Additional Information on Winton