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A Super Hero Update: Shannan and Jessica’s Story of Make-shift OR’s and More

By on Jan 23, 2014 in National Nurse Anesthetist Week, Our Super Heroes, Uncategorized | 1 comment

When we heard about the medical mission trip that Shannan Case and Jessica Ginn went on, we knew we had to include them in our CRNA Week series: Super Heroes. Wow! The things they experienced are, well, we’ll let you make your own opinion on that. Here’s there story:   During our first medical mission trip with Drs. Ed and Olivia Cabigao, we were truly blessed with an opportunity of a lifetime. After many obstacles including a gunman in LAX, a delayed flight for two days, an 18 hour flight, and just dodging the Super Typhoon Yolanda, the people of Baliwag, Philippines welcomed us with immense hospitality. The hospital and surroundings were far from anything we had ever seen. The area was poverty stricken and the hospital was functioning on bare minimum supplies. The anesthesia machine consisted of a five liter flow meter, APL valve, CO2 absorber, circuit, reservoir bag, H cylinder oxygen supply, and scavenging out of the window. There were no ventilators in the entire hospital.  The OR was set up for two simultaneous surgeries with only one suction for the entire room to be shared by all. The only air conditioning in the hospital was in the OR, which was a window unit. Bare necessities included betadine soaked cotton balls for surgical prep, non-adjustable operating room tables, one main OR light and a stand alone light for both operating teams.  We provided general and/or regional anesthetics for a variety of surgeries including hysterectomies, thyroidectomies, cholecystectomies, hernia repairs, several mass removals, an orchiectomy, GI endoscopies, and a nephrectomy. We also did a few pediatric patients with the youngest at five years of age. They were the bravest; IV’s were put in prior to induction and they walked to the OR table without even a whimper. Patients recovered in a room with no continuous monitoring capability, H-cylinder oxygen supply, and a window air conditioning unit. Few of them requested pain meds or antiemetics. Surprisingly, the majority of the patients were relatively healthy. We had a great team of medical professionals that all worked well together in providing a service to an area in desperate need of medical care ranging from health screenings to major surgery. Even though the conditions were less than what we in the United States would consider acceptable, we feel it was an inspiring trip and, hopefully, the first of many more.                       ...

Tennessee General Assembly Reconvenes: It’s Time to Unite and Protect!

By on Jan 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you have watched the news or listened to the radio recently, then you know that the Tennessee General Assembly reconvened on January 14 for the second half of its 108th session, and leadership intends for both chambers to conclude their work by mid-April.  But make no mistake, the legislature has a host of issues that it will be considering this session, and over the next couple of weeks more than 1,000 bills will be filed on a range of topics from guns to healthcare. If you have gotten to this point in the article, you may be asking yourself what this post has to do with being a CRNA.  The answer is simple—everything, so please read on!   TANA leadership has been working very hard over the past several months to re-brand itself.  The website is being redone with all kinds of new features to engage members and even TANA’s logo has a new look.  Part of the makeover includes a new motto or slogan to highlight TANA’s mission—“Unite and Protect – our profession, our patients.” And there’s no better place to direct these efforts than the legislature. Each and every session, the legislature considers legislation that will impact your profession and the quality of care provided to patients across the state. Healthcare is a hot button issue these days. From Medicaid expansion to scope of practice and everything in between, these issues have the potential to benefit or to harm your profession, and you have the opportunity – no, the responsibility, as a healthcare professional and as a member of TANA to Unite and Protect!   Now that I have peaked your interest enough to think about getting involved, you are probably asking yourself, “what do I do next?”  As TANA’s lobbyist, I spend my days in the halls of Legislative Plaza and the Capitol, talking with legislators and working issues. I know it can be intimidating, but here are few simple ways to engage in the process: Pay Attention.  The only way you will know about issues is to pay attention. Local news and radio report on legislative activity throughout session. In addition, each week TANA makes available to its members a government relations update. It provides an overview of the session as well as information on TANA-specific issues and a bill listing. It comes via e-mail and only takes a couple of minutes to read. Surf the Internet.  Take the time to peruse the Tennessee General Assembly’s website. It contains a host of information on legislators, bills sponsored, committee meetings, etc. It even has a live streaming feature to allow you to watch legislative committee meetings as well as floor sessions. Know Your Legislator.  How can you expect to influence someone on an issue when you don’t know them or their background?!? Legislators want to hear from constituents in their district. You are their voting base, and they need your vote to get re-elected. If you don’t know your legislator, you can do a simple search on the website for that too or click here. Take the time to introduce yourself back home in the district. It can be as simple as saying hello at a community event or inviting them for a cup of coffee. And, in turn, let them get to know you. Don’t be afraid to share your story and background. Educate legislators about your profession and how you help the citizens of this state. Be Active.  Each year, TANA hosts a Day on the Hill. It’s a great opportunity to meet legislators and to see how the process works. If you cannot attend the Day on the Hill, then make plans to attend the Legislative Reception that evening. It’s a more casual opportunity to, once again, meet legislators and get to know them. This year’s Day on the Hill is March 4. Support TANA PAC.  Contributing to TANA PAC is an investment in your profession. Even just a few dollars a month makes a difference, because the PAC allows your resources to be leveraged with others to provide campaign support to candidates.   Thank you for your time! I have had the privilege to represent TANA and its members for the past five years. It is truly a wonderful association that represents a tremendously talented group of healthcare professionals who provide quality care each and everyday, so be proud and make the decision to get involved and to Unite and...

Super Hero Update: A quick note and some pictures from Ian Bicol

By on Jan 21, 2014 in National Nurse Anesthetist Week, Our Super Heroes | 0 comments

Our Passion, Our Priority, Our Patients

By on Jan 20, 2014 in National Nurse Anesthetist Week, Notes from the President, Our Super Heroes | 0 comments

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are dedicated to Tennesseans.  Appendicitis, Broken Bones, Gall Bladder, Heart Attack, Stroke … All are unexpected conditions that our citizens have every day, and all may require a surgical intervention. Because of experiencing fear regarding anesthesia is common, patients want to know that they are in experienced hands, someone to ensure that they will not feel pain and will have a great experience. In Tennessee, we have over 1,900 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) who are all dedicated to making certain the citizens of Tennessee have access to excellent anesthesia care. Providing services are large university hospitals, urban and rural community hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and office based clinics where CRNAs are an essential provider in Tennessee. Currently CRNAs are the primary provider of anesthesia services in Tennessee with 41 of the 95 counties in Tennessee having anesthesia services provided ONLY by nurse anesthetists. In 2014, Tennessee will undergo healthcare reform as legislators have vowed to address this issue during the legislative session. The question is, “how will CRNAs play a role in the new system”? Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are first, and foremost, passionate about being patient advocates. Our priority is to ensure that when one of our fellow Tennesseans arrives for a surgery, for which they feel fear of the unknown, we as CRNAs can ensure quality care. We will be with them throughout the entire procedure providing high quality and caring anesthesia care, ensuring that you have a thorough pre-op assessment, adequate pain control, vigilant monitoring, and a comfortable post operative experience. January 19-25 is National Nurse Anesthetists Week. There are currently 45,000 CRNAs providing approx. 34 million anesthetics each year in the United States covering anesthesia for obstetrics, pain management, pediatrics, transplants, cardiac care, neurosurgery, trauma, and many other cases.  Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are the primary provider of anesthesia services for our military serving in both the front line Medical Units, support hospitals, and in the VA system. As an anesthesia specialist for over 150 years, and as the first specialist dedicated solely to anesthesia care, CRNAs are here for our patients. We hope that you will take time this week and thank the CRNAs at your hospital or other facility. If you are having surgery this week, know that it is CRNAs who will be watching over you ensuring that you have the highest quality...

Are You Prepared?

By on Jan 8, 2014 in Making an imPACt | 4 comments

Being prepared for the unknown, that is what we are trained to do as CRNAs. We arrive early everyday and set up our room. We draw up our emergency medicines for those outlier situations.  We are trained to be prepared and act swiftly and efficiently to a crisis if and when it should arise. It is engrained in the DNA of CRNAs to be prepared. Now that we are into 2014, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we need to be prepared for the inherent unknowns associated with it. There will eventually be a significant influx of patients into the healthcare system. The increased volume will cause the need for more surgeries and therefore more anesthesia providers. At present, the CRNA job market is tight. We are all well aware of this. However, a time will come when this surplus ends. There will be a time when there are not enough CRNAs to cover the OR’s. Whether this is due to the retirement of senior CRNAs, increased demands for surgical services, or other unforeseen variables, the surplus will end. So the question is, do you want an Anesthesiologist or Anesthesia Assistant to take your spot at the anesthesia machine?  We have to be prepared. During 2013, TANA made significant financial investments in the future of its members. From engaging a PR firm, redesigning the website, creating a blog, to being more active in social media, TANA has made an investment in you, our members. You are the lifeblood of this organization. We defend and support you. The funding of these investments was permitted through effective fiscal management of funds that TANA receives from your AANA dues. We are committed to defending and supporting your scope of practice. Like TANA, TANA-PAC is committed to defending and supporting your scope of practice in Nashville with the legislators. TANA-PACs does not receive one cent from TANA or AANA. It is only funded by the members who donate and support it. PAC wants to be prepared for any legislative battle that threatens CRNA scope of practice. To defend this, we must support those on our side and educate those who are not. TANA-PAC has established the following goals for 2014:             We would like to see: Annual donations meet or exceed $75,000. This would be a 25% increase over donations to PAC in 2013 Monthly contributors to increase to 150 per month. Monthly contributors to give $50 per month. Sign up two colleagues to donate to PAC. Build a nest egg to prepare PAC for future attacks to CRNA scope of practice  TANA and TANA-PAC have and continue to invest in you. Are you prepared to invest and protect your scope of practice and profession? Take the time to evaluate the importance of what you have sacrificed. Ask yourself if $50 per month is too much to give? You spent a significant amount of time, hard work, and financial expense getting your degree. Be prepared, and don’t be complacent and let your career vanish before your eyes. David Klappholz...