Recently in my Professional Aspects anesthesia course we were assigned to choose a topic from a list of notable anesthesia events and people. After a quick skim through the list, I chose the name Goldie
Brangman. I thought “That’s an interesting name – should be an interesting person.” Little did I know how much I would learn about this inspirational figure! My research into Goldie and her impact on the countless anesthesia professionals she taught and guided led me to reflect on my own journey to become a nurse anesthetist.
I remembered my encounters with two influential colleagues (one a CRNA and the other an SRNA at the time) who truly served as role models for me, even if they didn’t know it! The CRNA took the time to answer the many questions of an unsure, hesitant nursing student seeking the courage to commit to a career as a CRNA. The SRNA welcomed my intrusion as an ICU nurse studying for my CCRN who just happened to stumble upon her while she was studying at Starbucks one day. Both of these remarkable ladies graduated from the very nurse anesthesia program I hoped to get into one day.
As African American women, both exemplified strength and determination in their pursuit of nurse anesthesia and continue to serve as role models for me on my own educational and professional journey. As the only African American SRNA in my current cohort, I think of them often when feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of CRNA school and absence of those who look like me within my environment. These women motivate me to carry on, and one day I hope to be the same inspiration for someone else that these ladies are to me. Just as Goldie Brangman demonstrated by becoming president of the AANA and accomplishing so much during her career, I too intend to show that women of color CAN and DO offer tremendous value to nurse anesthesia. I thank all who came before me for paving the way for students and women like myself to achieve success in this profession.
Briana Covington, SRNA
2022 MSN Nurse Anesthesia Cohort
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga