Why I Became a CRNA

Arthur Zwerling, DNP, MSN, CRNA, DAAPM

  • Sep 26, 2008

CRNA 1996-2014

Arthur ZwerlingI was very actively involved with the Philadelphia Recovering Nurses Association and working as a Cardiac and Trauma Physician Assistant when I began looking at new career options and graduate programs. I was initially interested in doing an MSN program as a Critical Care Nurse Practitioner, but after having worked with a number of CRNAs at Hahnemann University Hospital, I was hooked – hook, line and sinker!
I had many excellent CRNA role-models, particularly Kate Kinslow, EdD, MBA, CRNA, my program director at Pennsylvania Hospital, who is currently the CEO of Pennsylvania Hospital. I have had an extraordinarily rich experience of working with truly outstanding clinicians and educators from the very beginning of my nurse anesthesia education.
Being part of an outstanding professional organization/profession that was at the forefront of excellence in patient care for the most vulnerable and compromised patient populations imaginable appealed to me. A big plus is that we get the best advanced technologies to work with. I can’t think of a more focused professional role as a patient advocate.
I like everything except documentation and cold ORs! I particularly enjoy working with patients who have complex pain and pathophysiology issues that require creative anesthetic and pain management approaches.
Aside from my times overseas with Nurse Anesthesia Overseas, I have stayed in the metropolitan Philadelphia area. I have been a faculty member involved in clinical and didactic education since the day I graduated. I have had the incredible privilege of being a program director for Pennsylvania Hospital’s School of Nurse Anesthesia and helping to transition the nurse anesthesia program to the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Nursing. I have had the blessing of working with many extraordinary, clinical colleagues, faculty and students along the way.
I have also been blessed with membership in the AANA Peer Assistance Committee since 1996. It has been a phenomenal learning and growing process being intimately involved in watching our Wellness Program evolve under the auspices of the AANA Council for Public Interest in Anesthesia. I can’t say enough about the AANA’s commitment to member wellness.
In every imaginable way my dedication to my profession has been strengthened through what I have achieved and continue to achieve. My hat is off to our educators who toil day in and day out to see that our students get outstanding clinical experiences and superb academic preparation.
I am often surprised by the resilience of our colleagues and their adaptability. I think the most disappointing aspect has been witnessing the tremendous membership apathy that cripples our progress as a profession.
If you are interested in nurse anesthesia, come shadow us in various practice settings, visit the nurse anesthesia programs and talk at length with our students.
For future generations of anesthetists: Show me the science! Show me the commitment!
Editor's Note: Art Zwerling's passion and enthusiasm for helping others was inspirational and legendary. He became ardently involved with the AANA Wellness and Peer Assistance efforts, serving as peer assistance advisor (1998-2014) and chair of the Peer Assistance Advisors Committee (2008-2012). He passed away on July 25, 2014 after a tough battle with cancer and other illnesses. His absence leaves a huge void in the fight against chemical dependency and in the hearts of all who knew him. Art Zwerling was the first CRNA profiled in this section, and his passion and enthusiasm for nurse anesthesia knew no bounds. We are grateful for his many, many contributions.