Congress Daily - Saturday, August 10, 2019


Outstanding Educators Honored at the Opening Ceremonies

  • Aug 10, 2019
Following tradition, the 2019 AANA Annual Congress Opening Ceremonies honored three CRNAs for their contributions to educating the next generation of Nurse Anesthetists. Congratulations to the winners of the Program Director of the Year, Didactic Instructor of the Year, and Clinical Instructor of the Year Awards.

Program Director of the Year:
Cormac T. O’Sullivan, PhD, MSN, CRNA 

The Program Director of the Year Award, established in 1991, is presented to a CRNA who has made a significant contribution as a program director to the educational process of student nurse anesthetists. The award recognizes the commitment of individuals to the profession of nurse anesthesia and to the advancement of educational standards that further the art and science of anesthesia and result in high-quality patient care.

Cormac O’Sullivan is the program administrator for the University of Iowa College of Nursing DNP Program in Nurse Anesthesia and practices clinically at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.

Upon becoming program director in 2009,  O’Sullivan immediately transitioned the Iowa program to become the second COA approved DNP nurse anesthesia program in the country. The Iowa nurse anesthesia program has produced 182 CRNAs and due to O’Sullivan’s leadership, over 105 have earned their Doctor of Nursing Practice Degrees.

The consummate healthcare provider, he is part of a three-nurse team that has secured funding to develop a “Simulation in Motion” – mobile simulation truck that will provide simulated education to emergency medical services personnel, rural hospital staff, and critical access hospital providers throughout Iowa.  O’Sullivan led a team of noted anesthesia simulation educators to provide perioperative emergency simulation education for the attendees at the AANA annual meetings in 2018 and 2019. 

Didactic Instructor of the Year:
Virginia (Chris) Muckler, DNP, CRNA, CHSE

The Didactic Instructor of the Year Award, established in 1991, is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the education of student nurse anesthetists in the classroom.

Chris Muckler is an Associate Clinical Professor and the Interim Program Director at Duke University’s Nurse Anesthesia Program in Durham, North Carolina.  

A leader in simulation teaching, Muckler developed a simulation program at Duke University that provides novel learning experiences for students.  The program models best practice in simulation and includes evidence-based scenarios including crises, pediatrics, obstetric, interprofessional, and transgender simulated scenarios. Muckler is involved in local, national, and international simulation opportunities although her most valued work is that of her students in the Simulation LiFE she created, a structured peer-to-peer teaching and learning program for third year students that aims to increase future nurse anesthesia educators.

In addition to providing simulation education, Muckler has provided input and oversight in over 40 DNP projects for nurse anesthesia students.  In addition, she educates senior students interested in becoming nurse anesthesia educators to participate as facilitators and educators for the first-year nurse anesthesia students at Duke University.

Clinical Instructor of the Year:
Susanne Anderson, MSN, CRNA

The Clinical Instructor of the Year Award, established in 1991, is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the teaching of nurse anesthesia students in the clinical area.

Susanne Anderson is a staff anesthetist at Wake Forest Baptist Health Outpatient Surgery Center in Winston-Salem, N.C..

For more than a decade, Anderson has used her vast knowledge of anesthesia to care for patients undergoing cardio thoracic, neurosurgical, orthopedic, ENT, and general surgery. As an instructor, her stress-free approach in the operating room allows students to practice their new clinical skills without being put in uncomfortable situations.
Providing guidance, leadership, and facilitation, Anderson participates in problem-based learning activities to help SRNAs think more in depth and plan a proper anesthetic plan for specific case scenarios.