About AANA Peer Assistance

AANA Peer Assistance is support for CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists for all aspects related to drugs/alcohol impairment, suspicion of drug diversion, substance use disorder (SUD), adverse event support, and questions related to fitness for duty.

August 2019 - TopMedTalk Podcast: AANA 2019, Substance Use Disorder - Peer Support: An Empathetic Information Resource 


What is the AANA Peer Assistance Helpline number?


When can I call for help?

When it is needed;  the Helpline provides 24/7 confidential live support and resources. 

IMPORTANT: For a crisis with potential immediate risk for harm to self or others, call 911 or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) suicide hotline, 800-273-TALK.

Once the situation is safe, call the AANA Peer Assistance Helpline, 800-654-5167.

What is AANA Peer Assistance?

The AANA has offered substance use disorder (SUD) related support since 1983. This program has grown into a robust network of State Peer Advisors (SPAs) facilitated by the Peer Assistance Advisors Committee (PAAC) and AANA staff. Features of this support include: 
  • AANA Peer Assistance Helpline (800-654-5167) for confidential assistance, informational support, and referral resources to nurse anesthesia professionals and the public on issues regarding well-being as it pertains to risk for substance use disorder and other issues such as experiencing adverse events and fitness for duty.
  • Commitment to address the occupational risk for substance use disorder through educational endeavors for prevention and early recognition of substance use disorder and drug diversion.
  • Formulation of guidelines, workplace resources, and policy considerations for safe intervention, reporting, treatment specific to anesthesia professionals, long-term recovery, and appropriate re-entry.
"The AANA is a stellar organization, that cares for its members as well as the public," observes Diana Quinlan, CRNA, MA, in the August 2009 AANA Journal article titled "Peer Assistance Reaches its 25th Year." She continues:

"The investment made to assist the members through the Ad Hoc Committee on Chemical Dependency, the peer assistance advisors and the wellness program demonstrate the role of advocacy over the last quarter century. The peer assistance website and the products that have been produced are referenced by healthcare providers in the United States and beyond. No other nursing organization has been this committed to this cause, or as effective. As we review our history, it is important to thank those who have dedicated many years to helping their colleagues."    

Also see Stone L, Quinlan D, Rice JA, Wright EL. The Evolution of a Peer Assistance Network for Nurse Anesthetists' Substance Use DisorderJ Addict Nurs. 2016 Jul-Sept; 27(3):218-220.

What can I expect from a call to the AANA Peer Assistance Helpline?

A live confidential response with support, information, and helpful resources. The Helpline offers an invaluable service to those suffering from SUD providing AANA intervention, treatment, and re-entry recommendation specific to anesthesia professionals.

​Is this professional counseling or therapy?

No, AANA Peer Assistance is not a professional treatment or counseling program. Helpline responses are intended to provide resources and act as an information center to provide helpful peer support to CRNAs in need of assistance related to drugs or alcohol concerns. No person associated with the Helpline, including any AANA staff or volunteers, is authorized to make a medical diagnosis, provide professional therapy, treatment or counseling, or provide legal or other professional advice of any kind. Please consult your personal medical provider or legal counsel for all such services.

Is the peer assistance confidential?​

Yes, support is confidential. Information provided by a person contacting the Helpline will be shared only with the caller’s knowledge and for the purpose of helping facilitate support. Only anonymous demographic data is collected for reporting purposes. However, please note that all AANA staff and volunteers are required to comply fully with all applicable state laws regarding mandated reporting.

Can a family member or colleague call for assistance?

Yes. For information and guidance, see Getting Peer Assistance Help for Yourself and Others and review Safe Intervention Essentials.  

Can a manager or educational program call for assistance?​

Yes. For information and guidance, see Getting Help. Also see Substance Use Disorder Workplace Resources to update or create a facility policy. 

What are the signs and behaviors to recognize an impaired colleague and/or drug diversion?

If you see something, do something. See Signs and Behaviors of Impaired Colleagues

What is the role of the Peer Assistance Advisors Committee?

PAAC members lead the AANA peer support network comprised of State Peer Advisors (SPAs) nationwide. PAAC members serve as regional advisors to educate and guide the SPAs in each of the seven AANA geographic regions. See also Meet the Peer Assistance Advisors Committee.

The PAAC has oversight of the AANA Peer Assistance Helpline, now outsourced to Parkdale (see How is the AANA Peer Assistance Helpline Facilitated?). PAAC closely monitors the process and outcomes, including verification that callers are provided appropriate resources, such as a full list of approved treatment programs that CRNAs and SRNAs can select from, to ensure transparency and no conflicts of interest as Parkdale works with callers.

Experienced SPAs are eligible to apply to serve on PAAC, see Committees for information on yearly application process. 

What is the role of a State Peer Advisor (SPA)?

See AANA's SPA Position Description for information on the Responsibility and Commitments, Restrictions, Process for Appointment, Reporting Relationships, Term, and Revocation.

SPAs are part of the AANA peer support network led by the Peer Assistance Advisors Committee (PAAC). SPAs expand educational outreach, build awareness, and participate at the state and local levels. 
As part of the oversight of the outsourcing of the Helpline to Parkdale, SPAs monitor satisfaction and treatment outcomes through Helpline participant feedback. Interested SPAs also receive further training to respond to adverse event support calls.

Qualified and trained SPAs are listed in the AANA Peer Assistance Resource Directory.

Can I become a State Peer Advisor?​

Yes. A personal experience with substance use disorder is not a requirement—many of the SPA volunteers are in recovery, while others have seen the devastation effect and wish to volunteer as allies.

For information about the process and to apply, see State Peer Advisors' Toolkit

How is the AANA Peer Assistance Helpline facilitated?

In October 2018, the AANA and Parkdale Solutions, LLC, entered into a partnership to enhance the services offered to CRNAs and SRNAs who suffer from SUD or who have colleagues, friends, or coworkers they suspect of diverting drugs or of impairment due to drugs/alcohol. The PAAC and SPA networks are as vital as ever in this partnership.

Parkdale Solutions, LLC, is the sister company of Parkdale Center for Professionals, which is a dual diagnosis treatment center for professionals in the early stages of recovery. See What is the AANA Parkdale Partnership.

What is the AANA Parkdale Partnership?

The partnership with Parkdale Solutions LLC was established in October 2018 with these primary goals:

  • A 24-hour live answer AANA Peer Assistance Helpline, staffed by addiction professionals, to improve access to help for SUD;
  • Reduction in variability in the support received;
  • Improved access to care by a validated treatment provider meeting the needs of anesthesia professionals, their employers, and families;
  • A formalized collaboration with AANA on education, treatment, aftercare, and reentry considerations specific to CRNAs and SRNAs.

Parkdale Solutions LLC, a sister company to Parkdale Center for Professionals, was developed to assist professionals, organizations, hospitals, regulatory agencies, and licensing boards in developing evidenced-based solutions to the SUD crisis throughout the country. As both a CRNA and an addiction professional, Rodrigo (Rigo) Garcia, APN, MBA, MSN, CRNA, ACIT, has primary responsibility for the live answer AANA Peer Assistance Helpline.

In the years prior to the partnership being formed, Rigo worked with the AANA to create the Parkdale Center for Professionals addiction treatment program following AANA recommendations specific to CRNAs and SRNAs. Rigo has helped the PAAC and the SPAs on critical peer support calls, speaking with affected CRNAs, colleagues, employers and loved ones to bring CRNAs from hazardous and vulnerable situations to safe, swift admittance to an addiction treatment program. Rigo and partner Claudia Garcia, MBA, BSN, RN, CADAC II, LAC, have presented at AANA SPA Workshops and the Annual Congress, as well as across the country, advocating for appropriate workplace polices for prevention and safe management of situations related to SUD and drug diversion.

In addition to the facilitation of the AANA Helpline, Parkdale Center for Professionals is a Strategic Alliance Treatment Program working closely with the AANA, employers, and Boards of Nursing to advocate for alternative to discipline models, provide education at AANA and related organization meetings, and support and develop safe reentry into practice for CRNAs.

See also AANA NewsBulletin January 2019 article: AANA Parkdale Partnership Jan 2019

Does the AANA endorse any specific treatment centers?​

No. The AANA provides evidence based treatment recommendations specific to anesthesia professionals and a list of AANA Strategic Alliance and Approved Treatment Programs. The list is complied through an application process reviewing what treatment programs report for meeting AANA criteria. This list does not imply endorsement or direct referrals, but instead is intended to help support consideration of an addiction treatment program.  


What is an AANA Approved Treatment Program?

Is AANA Peer Assistance connected to Boards of Nursing?​

No, AANA Peer Assistance is a member service for nurse anesthetists, students, and their families as well as colleagues, managers, and supervisors.

Can I go back to work as a CRNA if I'm in recovery?​

Return to work is looked at on an individual basis. See Re-entry Recommendations and Resources.

Anesthetists in Recovery (AIR) provides support for anesthesia professionals in maintaining sobriety.

Can I be recertified while in treatment and recovery?​

Contact the National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) for any questions related to recertification: 855-285-4658.

In the event of a lapse of four or more years, see Reentry Program information and handbook (formerly Refresher Program).

Is there a fee for this assistance?​

No fees. AANA Peer Assistance is funded by the AANA to support the well-being of CRNAs and SRNAs. 

What about legal support?

Please contact an attorney, ideally one familiar with nursing regulations in your state, for any legal questions.