CRNA Since 1975
The idea of going into the field of healthcare was first sparked by my aunt who was a surgical nurse in Cincinnati, Ohio. My aunt would write me letters about the transplant surgeries and other interesting things that she was involved with on a day-to-day basis. My aunt’s letters definitely piqued my interest in the operating room environment, especially the part about the anesthesiologist. I grew up in a small town called Smithville, Ohio, which was just south of Steubenville, and I looked forward to these letters. Steubenville was the home of entertainer Dean Martin.
As a high school cheerleader and softball player, I excelled in Latin, physics, biology, and other sciences, which made my choice as an anesthesia provider more attractive. In addition, I’d only heard of anesthesiologists, so I considered going to medical school. However, Mr. Hesski, my high school guidance counselor, did some research and told me about the field of nurse anesthesia and that they did the same thing as an anesthesiologist. My guidance counselor really helped me. When I told him which career I was interested in, he even looked into it for me.
After graduating with my high school class of 62 students, I headed to nursing school at Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing. A marriage proposal halfway through nurse anesthesia school almost delayed my career in nursing, but my understanding program director made a call to Youngstown, Ohio, and I was admitted into St. Elizabeth Health Center School for Nurse Anesthetists in Youngstown. I must say that both of my program directors instilled in me the importance of being active and giving my time and resources to advance our profession.
I must also make special note of the mentors in my life. I had several mentors along the way who took time to talk, teach, and listen to me at several stages in my career, one of the key reasons I was not only successful as a nurse anesthetist, but became active in the Ohio Association of Nurse Anesthetists (OSANA) and eventually the AANA on the national level. I have served in several capacities with OSANA, including state president, and as the 2005-2007 AANA Region 6 Director. The leadership tools learned while serving at the state and national levels helped me and will help others in their day-to-day practice as nurse anesthetists. In Ohio, we moved. We didn’t wait on anyone to help us CRNAs, we made the moves ourselves. If you want to make a difference, get involved.
I was a business owner for 20 years, and have recently sold my share of the business to my longtime business partner, and now I only work two days a week. When I started the business, I had a deep desire to show my healthcare colleagues that CRNAs could work independently and still provide a safe, quality anesthetic, and that’s what led to the creation of CS (Cross/Spires) Anesthesia. Being both a leader in the profession and business owner has been very rewarding.
I’ve been a CRNA for more than 40 years, and I’m still proud of my profession. Being a CRNA has been the absolute best career ever, because when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. I can truly say that hundreds of patients later, I have never tired of the reassurance I am able to give someone at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives.