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The 10Th National Nurse Anesthetist Week
January 25Th -31st, 2009 is designated as National Nurse Anesthetist week.
People come to operating rooms across the country for life saving, as well as life improving procedures. Whether they come there to have a cancer removed, a broken bone repaired, or to deliver a baby by c-section, each and every one prefers to have some sort of anesthetic while their surgeon performs the surgery.
The person administering the anesthetic, is usually found at the head of the operating room bed.
Here in my neck of rural America, affectionately called the "north country," as well as in rural areas all across the USA, that person, more often than not, is a nurse; a nurse with specialized training. These nurses are known in the medical world as CRNAs, an acronym for: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
For more than 100 years these nurses, trained in the art and science of all modes of anesthesia care, have been the surgical patient's guardians; administering all types of anesthetics, while remaining with the patient through every minute of their surgery, making sure that the patient gets just the right treatment to keep them safe, secure, and unaware during the operation.
(I think my great grandfather, Daniel Story, was a nurse anesthetist during the Civil War.)
While a Doctor anesthesiologist is often the head of a hospital's anesthesia department, it's the nurse anesthetist at the patient's bedside who administers and manages the anesthetic.
Here in the north country (St. Lawrence County), we are fortunate to have many talented anesthesia nurses serving hospitals in Gouveneur, Massena, Ogdensburg, and Potsdam. Most of these CRNAs are home grown. Some travel here on a temporary basis and help out with shortages when needed.
Five CRNAs, under the tutelage of Dr. Manual Vasquez, who administered anesthetics in January, 2009 at Massena Memorial Hospital are pictured above:
Front: Bertha Doss. Ms. Doss is a CRNA from Illinois working in Massena as a Locum for a couple of months.
Rear: rel CRNA (locum), Lynn Widrick CRNA (locum), Paul Auger CRNA, Dane Brenno CRNA.