By Ericka Frazier
Diversity CRNA reaffirmed my enthusiasm for anesthesia and my goal of becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
My journey towards becoming a CRNA started while I was in undergraduate nursing school. I was granted a shadow day in the operating room and I found myself drawn toward the head of the bed and the role of the anesthesia provider, a nurse anesthetist. After that experience, I began to research what it took to become a CRNA and the requirements to get into nurse anesthesia programs. I saw that one to two years of critical care experience was a requirement for entrance into nurse anesthesia school and I immediately made sacrifices and sought out summer nurse intern positions that would increase my chances of getting offered an intensive care unit position right out of nursing school. I secured a job in the ICU at a pediatric level one trauma center in Kansas City, Mo. While learning my new role as an ICU nurse, I never lost sight of my end goal and continued to complete tasks required to become a CRNA. While working as an ICU nurse and preparing to apply to school, a close friend with the same aspirations told me about the Diversity CRNA mentorship program. He expressed his interest and told me he was planning to attend. Having no expectations other than to network and learn more about the anesthesia profession, I registered and drove eight hours with my friend and two other aspiring nurse anesthesia students.
The Diversity CRNA Information Session & Airway Simulation lab exceeded my expectations and reinforced that the “head of the bed” is where I belong. I attended an information session in 2015 hosted by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. This information session and workshop was a turning point in my life. I was able to network with former American Association of Nurse Anesthetist presidents, certified registered nurse anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists. I obtained valuable information from program directors and participated in an eight-hour simulation lab including, but not limited to, performing fiber optic, oral and nasal intubations, central line placement, epidural placement and interactive case studies using the Daytex Ohmeda anesthesia machine.
The program was founded by CRNAs of color who truly care about the profession and the future of anesthesia. Anyone can attend these events and I believe these events are solely to encourage and introduce minority nursing students and ICU nurses to the profession, the rigors of nurse anesthesia programs and provide mentorship as students successfully matriculate into anesthesia programs.
I hope that this event, hosted by the TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia, gives the ICU nurse that is doubting themselves the motivation they need to go after their dreams and inspires eager nursing students to one day pursue a career in nurse anesthesia.
Edited for length and AP Style.