CRNA Since 1999As a single parent back in 1992, I tried to find a profession that I felt was secure. I wanted to be able to take care of my daughter and myself without state assistance. I had never heard of a nurse anesthetist until I had to have minor surgery while in nursing school. Michelle Grant was my anesthetist that day. I told her I was in nursing school and she encouraged me to look into a career as a nurse anesthetist. She went as far as arranging a day for me to shadow her. I fell in love with anesthesia that day and decided that this was the profession for me.
After graduating in May 1994, I was sidetracked a little. However, after about two and a half years I decided it was time to get back on track. Most of the deadlines for nurse anesthesia programs had passed when I had my revelation, but I was determined to get into a program for the Fall of 1997.
At the time, Georgia only had one nurse anesthesia program and I could not put all my eggs in one basket. I examined anesthesia programs all over the United States that were accepting applications at the time. I was accepted to Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia in Philadelphia, Pa. It was a big move from Georgia but I was determined to achieve my dream with my daughter in tow. So my daughter and I packed up and moved to Philadelphia with no family close by and knowing no one.
Nurse anesthesia school was such a life altering and emotional experience for my daughter and me. We both became stronger people because of it. After a lot of hard work, prayers, and help from caring classmates, faculty and friends, I graduated in November 1999.
I can truly say that becoming an anesthetist was the best thing I could have ever done. The ten years have flown by. I presently work part-time in the very hospital that Michelle Grant encouraged me to become an anesthetist. There is currently a nurse anesthesia program there now, in which I participate as a clinical instructor. My full-time job is at Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins, Ga., where I am an obstetrics (OB) anesthetist and I love it. The immediate gratification I receive when I relieve a pregnant woman’s pain is just so awesome to me.
My daughter has just finished her first year of college and has decided to go through nurse anesthesia school (smile). A couple of her friends learned about what I do and have decided to pursue anesthesia also. It makes me feel good to know that nurse anesthesia is not just the best kept secret anymore. People are learning and understanding who we are, what we do, and how important we are in the healthcare realm.
I love the autonomy and confidence nurse anesthesia has allowed me. I strive for perfection every time I give an anesthetic, although I know there is no perfect one. I am proud of my profession and I hope I can give back to it as much as it has given to me.