CRNA Spotlight on Ketamine

A recent article in the New York Times says the "suicide rate has been rising in the United States since the beginning of the century, and is now the 10th leading cause of death," according to the CDC.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are on the forefront of administering ketamine to those suffering from severe depression and anxiety. Although ketamine is not a new drug (it has been used as an anesthetic for years), its application to depression is relatively new. It is administered in low doses at a slow rate.

Below are news stories that reveal the work that CRNAs are doing with ketamine and depression and anxiety across the country. For more information about ketamine, see AANA's Ketamine Infusion Therapy page.

Former Police Officer Receives Ketamine Treatment for PTSD
Registered Nurse Liz Durand, center, inflates a blood pressure cuff on Don Corbett's arm while Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Stephen Durand, right, looks for a vein to insert an IV before Corbett receives a ketamine treatment at Alleviant Health Center of Naples on Friday, February 14, 2020. Corbett, a retired police officer, suffers from PTSD and has been receiving ketamine infusions to deal with his symptoms.
Naples Daily News (Florida), February 27, 2020

A Veteran-Owned Clinic with a Treatment That is Changing Lives
Dr. Jeff Gainok, CRNA, and Dr. Chuck Weber, CEO, Direct Care LLC., are here this morning to tell us all about their Veteran-Owned clinic, and why it is making a huge difference in mental illness.
Fox 21 News (Colorado Springs, Colo.), January 27, 2020

Fargo Clinic Offers Old Drug with New Use to Manage Depression, Anxiety, Pain
Jacqueline Materi, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, owns the clinic, which opened its first office in Bismarck in 2017. She works with four other nurse anesthetists to treat patients for a variety of ailments including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and migraines. Inforum, December 26, 2019

MercyOne Newton Offering Treatment for Depression, PTSD
"Ketamine is an anesthetic agent that has been around since the 1970s," Chief CRNA at MercyOne Newton and Ketamine Clinic Director Susan Pair, MSN, CRNA, ARNP, said. "At lower doses it has been found that ketamine has been successful in the treatment of psychiatric disorders." Newton Daily News (Newton, Iowa), December 4, 2019

Veteran Says Ketamine Infusions Helped with PTSD
Theresa Keefer is a certified registered nurse anesthetist and the owner of Military Matters Ketamine Infusion Therapy Clinic in western Colorado Springs. She said ketamine was first used in the 1960s, and it just made its way to southern Colorado. Keefer's clinic focuses on helping veterans struggling with severe PTSD and depression. FOX 21 (Colorado Springs, Colo.), October 22, 2019 

New Business Offers Ketamine Infusions to Help Battle Mental Illness
A new business in Winona aims to give those with mental illnesses new hope of finding relief. Bloom Neurotherapy focuses on the use of ketamine infusions through an IV to help bring into remission people with medication-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and suicidality who have not seen improvement through the use of other forms of treatment. Beth Maki, certified registered nurse anesthetist, opened the business on Sept. 11. Winona Daily News (Winona, Minn.), October 2, 2019. 

Together for Mental Health
Charlie Hong, MS, CRNA, ARNP, said the clinic's passion is to treat patients and seek an answer to substantial remission of their depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or anxiety disorder. Because ketamine is used off label to treat mental health disorders, insurance doesn't cover it, but Hong said, "Let's get you treated and get you some relief and worry about the money later." Estherville Daily News (Estherville, Iowa), September 29, 2019

 ASKP, Second Annual Meeting 2019

CRNA presence at the 2nd Annual American Society of Ketamine Physicians Meeting,
September 19-21, 2019, Aurora, Colo.
Nykol Bailey Rice, CRNA, 2019-2020 board member

After More Than a Year Away, Ketamine is Back in Duluth as a Treatment for Severe Mental Health Disorders
There's no such thing as a walk-in patient. The patient must be referred by a mental health professional and must have been prescribed standard drugs with little effect. Natalie Johnson, MNA, CRNA, APRN, and Patrick Bailey, CRNA, are clear about the fact that they aren't mental health professionals but will be collaborating with the patient's prescriber to offer a specific element of their treatment. They are, however, medical professionals whose experience includes ketamine. Although side effects are rare, they're prepared with a "crash cart" should a medical emergency occur. Duluth News-Tribune, September 10, 2019

Boise Organization Researches Ketamine Use to Treat Depression
Owner Nykol Bailey, CRNA, RNA, has been running the clinic for three years. As a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Bailey said that she has never seen a drug reduce suicidality so quickly in patients. “I came across an ed article about using microdoses of ketamine in a clinic setting for depression and chronic pain,” Bailey said. “I lost someone to suicide in my twenties. After that, I wondered if something was available then that worked quicker, if the situation could have been avoided.”
The Arbiter (Boise State University, Idaho), August 20, 2019

Company Wants to Expand Ketamine Treatments Used for Veterans with PTSD, Depression
“It’s probably the best medicine to hit mental health in over 50 years,” anesthetist Clint Fletcher, CRNA, told News 2. He is also the clinical director at Complete Ketamine Solutions. Fletcher says since the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Spravato, a nasal spray related to the anesthetic Ketamine, demand for treatments has increased. “We went from doing 10 to 12 infusions a month to 40 which is substantial,” he said. The challenge is overcoming the reputation of the drug that many know as a horse tranquilizer and on the streets as “Special K.”
WKRN (Nashville, Tenn.), August 1, 2019

Some Charleston Patients See Ketamine Infusions as the Future of Psychiatric Treatments
Since 2016, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Mike Donovan has been offering ketamine infusions to hundreds of Lowcountry patients out of a desire to help those struggling with mental illnesses. Donovan heads up Charleston's Ketamine Infusion Specialists, which operates out of several Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery locations throughout the Lowcountry. "I've had family members say, 'You helped us get our daughter or son back,'" says Donovan of the people he treats. "It's that patient that gets me up in the morning. It's another treatment that everybody should know about. I want it to be exposed and for people to have access."
Charleston City Paper (Charleston, S.C.), July 17, 2019

First of Its Kind Ketamine Infusion Center Opens in Endinburg, Texas
The Nova Vita Wellness Center in Edinburg provides treatment for patients suffering from conditions such as Major Depression Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, suicidal ideations, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, migraines and more. Research shows that pain and depression can quickly be relieved with low doses of intravenously-administered ketamine. CRNA Jorge Alvarez is a board certified registered nurse anesthetist with more than 12 years experience in anesthesia administration across multiple clinical settings and specialties. He is a highly proficient clinician with additional experience in clinical leadership, contract development, and healthcare management. Jorge currently serves as the Chief CRNA at a local surgery center and as Founder and CEO of Nova Vita Wellness Centers.
Valley Central News, June 26, 2019

New Ketamine on the Block: CRNA-run Clinics Offer Career Fulfillment
For Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, ketamine clinics offer an opportunity to utilize well-honed skills in a new and different venue among CRNA jobs, and for some to find their life's calling. One CRNA we talked to says there's no one in healthcare more qualified than CRNAs to deliver ketamine to patients, and no doubt his peers agree.
Health eCareers, May 13, 2019

Ormond Beach Resident Leading Ketamine Infusion Treatment in Port Orange
Ormond Beach resident Bill Self has dealt ketamine virtually all of his professional life. As a nurse anesthetist who worked in local hospitals, the drug was commonly used in the anesthesia he administered to patients. However, it wasn't until he started teaching at the University of North Florida that he started studying all of its potentials.
Ormond Beach Observer, April 22, 2019

Ketamine Shows New Promise for Idahoans Suffering from Drug-Resistant Depression
CRNA Nykol Rice, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and her husband Jeremy opened the clinic three years ago. "Ketamine has been shown, within an hour of the first administration, to show neuronal regrowth," said Rice. "So these neurons are actually physically regenerating."
KIVI Boise TV, March 19, 2019

Idaho Mother Finds Relief in Experimental Depression Treatment
Tina Gordon co-founded the Ketamine Clinic of Spokane, alongside Josh Spartz and Kimber Royter. Gordon is also a board certified [registered] nurse anesthetist. She believes, with expert medical care, ketamine intravenous infusions save lives.
KXLY (Spokane, Wash.), November 29, 2018

Radical Approach to Depression Being Offered in Wichita
"We are new to ketamine infusions as they relate to depression, but we're not new to ketamine as a medication," says Sonia Slaba, a [Certified] Registered Nurse Anesthetist at Advanced Infusion and Wellness Center.
KAKE (Wichita, Kansas), July 2018

Veteran Turns to Unconventional Treatment for PTSD
"This is an extra option for people who have run out of options, this is helping to treat treatment-resistant conditions," said Katie Walker, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, and co-founder of Revitalist. Walker and another CRNA, Jenn Hultz, left their jobs at a local hospital to open Revitalist. It's the first ketamine clinic in Tennessee and the only one in the Knoxville area.
KWTX (Waco, Texas), May 19, 2018

Bismarck Clinic Treats Pain, Depression with Ketamine
A clinic in Bismarck is offering treatments with ketamine, which is growing in popularity as a treatment for depression and pain. Jackie Materi, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and the operator of the Ketamine Care Clinic, administers the drug through a vein, with six infusions over a two-week period.
The Spokesman Review (Spokane, Wash.), July 23, 2017