The Evolution of National Nurse Anesthetists Week

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists recognized the inaugural celebration of National Nurse Anesthetists Week in January 2000 with the goal to raise awareness of and shine a spotlight on the work of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).

Since then, National CRNA Week has had many different themes, ranging from We Take You There and Back Safely in 2000 to the more recent Every Breath, Every Beat, Every Second, We Are There in 2018. No matter the angle, the focal point has always remained the same – the cost-effective, quality care of CRNAs.

The event, which runs during the last full week of January (to coincide with when most policymakers are back in session), gives CRNAs a chance to not only promote their profession, but to celebrate and share the rich heritage of nurse anesthesia with their communities.

Over the years, CRNAs have come up with some pretty interesting ways of catching the public eye. What started out as AANA-provided table tents; fill-in-the-blank proclamations, resolutions, and press releases; posters, buttons, pens, and t-shirts, quickly evolved into large-scale endeavors such as billboards, crop art, anesthesia-related movie previews, and commercials. CRNAs' promotional ideas appear to be boundless!


Social Media Promotion

With the digital age now in full swing, AANA and some state associations have taken to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets to share their NNAW events and nurse anesthesia-related material. In 2014, AANA implemented hashtags and AANA Did You Know (#AANADYK) Twitter posts to spread knowledge about nurse anesthesia and honor its tradition. The Facebook post which kicked off the week in 2014 on Jan. 19 received the greatest social media response to that point with 24 comments, 408 shares, 437 likes, and was seen by 41,824 people.

Because CRNA care is becoming increasingly important to today's healthcare landscape, the magnitude of National CRNA Week appears limitless. One thing is for certain: the quality, cost-effective care of CRNAs and the tradition of nurse anesthesia is timeless. Honoring these extraordinary people and PROMOTING an enduring profession should remain a valued tradition.


Other Instances of Recognition

  • ​In 1972, February 7-13 was proclaimed Nurse Anesthetists Week in Georgia by Gov. Jimmy Carter. Georgia Association of Nurse Anesthetists (GANA) President Yolanda Olivera, CRNA, looked on as the governor signed the proclamation. Many state associations were successful in coordinating their own Nurse Anesthetists Week at the state level before National Nurse Anesthetists Week began in 2000.
  • In 1985, Rep. James R. Olin (Va.) introduced House Joint Resolution 173 to designate the week of August 9-August 15 as "National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Week."  

Memorable Events

  • 2001: Environmental artist Stan Herd creates CRNA-themed crop art in Kan.
  • 2001: The Maine Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MeANA) developed a cinema advertisement that was aired in major cities.
  • 2004: The Oregon Association of Nurse Anesthetists (OANA) placed two large billboards in the Portland area.
  • 2007: The Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists (TxANA) received 54 National Nurse Anesthetist Week proclamations from around the state.
  • 2009: St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis, Tenn., offers "Become a CRNA for a Day" program.
  • 2011: Duke University School of Nursing visits local high schools and schools of nursing to educate students about nurse anesthesia.
  • 2011: Drexel University of Nurse Anesthesia volunteered at St. John’s Hospice in Center City, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 2013: AANA staff learns about CRNAs from a CRNA staff panel.
  • 2014: Houston-area CRNAs and SRNAs celebrated National Nurse Anesthetist Week with a Mexican buffet attended by Houston Mayor Annise Parker.