National CRNA Week is the AANA’s annual celebration of anesthesia patient safety and the nation’s nearly 59,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists who safely and cost-effectively provide more than 53 million anesthetics each year. Known as National Nurse Anesthetists Week as recently as 2014, the updated name for this popular event helps patients, hospital administrators, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and others become more familiar with the CRNA credential and the exceptional advanced practice registered nurses who have earned it.

Reserve the 2022 dates to Celebrate National CRNA Week: January 23-29, 2022!

What can you do to get involved in CRNA week?

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CRNAs Serving Our Communities

Sarah

Bill Ragon, CRNA

Leaving a Trail of Faithfulness Behind Him

Some people are called and never hear it. But not Bill Ragon, a CRNA who lives and works in Jackson, TN. Bill believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that his devotion to caring for people in the most austere conditions around the world is the result of him being called to alter the course of his life not once, but twice. Now 69, Bill couldn’t be happier that he was listening when the calls came.

Currently employed at a 700-bed, Level 2 trauma center that provides healthcare services for a population of more than 1 million Tennesseans, Bill and his 70 fellow CRNAs provide anesthesia care for orthopedic procedures, general surgery, and everything in between.

But becoming a healthcare provider wasn’t exactly on Bill’s mind the day he parachuted out of a plane during Green Beret training in the early ‘70s.  

“My Green Beret team’s medic was hurt during a parachute jump, and that’s what started it all for me,” Bill recalled. “About 15 of us were jumping that day, including two medics, into a location for a two-week training mission. One of the medics got hung up in a tree, and when he cut himself loose, he fell and broke his ankle. He convulsed and we thought he might die. I decided right then and there I wanted to become a medic so I could have more control over situations like that.

“I wound up serving as a Green Beret medic from 1972-75, after the Vietnam pull out,” he said. “During our medic training I was intrigued when we put goats to sleep with ether before they were operated on. Then before I got out of the service, I met with a CRNA who told me about his career. He was a big motivator—said it was a great career, that CRNAs were ‘under the radar.’ Not anymore, though—that’s for sure.” Bill earned his nurse anesthesia diploma from the University of Tennessee Martin and has spent his entire career paying forward what that military CRNA did for him—inspiring nurses who are considering a career in anesthesia and encouraging SRNAs who are already in the pipeline.   

The austere conditions he experienced during his military training prepared him well for the next time he heeded the call.

“My interest in medical missions truly started after I renewed my faith,” Bill said. That was in 1985, when he was in his early 30s. He’d been practicing as a CRNA for three years. “I woke up one day and just felt I had everything material I could want. I told my wife, ‘Jayne, this is not what life is all about.’ I felt called by God to care for the less fortunate.”

To further drive home the point, Bill’s brother, a physician, told him that one of the greatest needs on mission trips was anesthesia providers.  His decision was made.

“CRNAs are blessed with so much, yet there are people all over the world who desperately need care,” he said. “In mission work, the appreciation these people express for what we are able to provide them is priceless.”

Bill has participated in medical missions to Jamaica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Iraq, and Uganda. He tries to go once per year. Missions might be planned well in advance, or they might be spontaneous, such as the missions he goes on as part of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for Samaritans First. Team members need to be able to deploy within 24 hours. Bill vividly remembers traveling to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island. Team members arrived within a few days for a 21-day mission and wound up staying much longer.

Depending on where a trip takes him, Bill provides anesthesia for general medical, surgical and dental cases, but also for Level 1 trauma caused by natural disasters like the Haiti earthquake or war-related injuries like those incurred by refugees fleeing ISIS in Iraq.

He vividly recalls a mission to Iraq for Samaritans First that was scheduled for the first week of 2017. “God said to me, ‘Bill, that’s your trip,’ but things were getting dangerous in Iraq and the 21-day mission was pushed to February,” Bill said. “So I asked my son, who’s a Navy Seal, to find out what was going on in Iraq—see how safe the trip would be. One of his contacts told him what I should expect, but my son told him ‘My Daddy will go anyway.’ He was right.

“The Iraq trip wound up being one of the best things I ever did, and one of the worst,” Bill remembers.  “Seventy percent of the patients we cared for were women, children, and the elderly—all victims of ISIS.” Bill readily admits struggling with some degree of PTSD from witnessing the aftermath of “truly evil” acts, such as drones being used to drop grenades on playgrounds.

Bill’s wife, Jayne, is one of his biggest supporters. “I was stationed in Iraq outside of Mosul,” Bill said, “and someone asked Jayne, ‘How can you let your husband go and put himself in harm’s way like that?’ She responded, ‘I’m not going to be that wife who stands between my husband and his call from God.’”

But Bill’s memory is also filled with profoundly special experiences as well. One in particular was captured in a photo Bill keeps—an image of himself cradling a little girl in his arms in a medical tent in Haiti. Her legs had been horribly burned by hot soup that had accidentally been spilled on her, and Bill was part of the team that debrided her wounds and grafted skin to her legs.

Upcoming for Bill are a mission to the Honduras in February and a staged repair cleft palate trip to South Sudan in March. He’s looking forward to both of them, despite a broken ankle he suffered last October that’s taking its sweet time to heal. He doesn’t anticipate that either trip will be jeopardized by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

What would Bill tell someone who is giving consideration to participating on a medical mission trip? He answered with a story about the time he was speaking with a group of SRNAs about the importance of mission trips and how CRNAs need to “get out, go, and do this work.” After telling them to think about it in the context of what their legacies will be, one SRNA left him speechless when she told him that his legacy was “leaving a trail of faithfulness behind him.”

The many people he’s cared for around the world just might agree.



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Aubrey Moncrief, CRNA

From High School to Vietnam to Maryville, TN: 50+ Years a Caregiver

Aubrey Moncrief, a CRNA who lives and works in Maryville, says that being a CRNA is in his blood. “Always has been,” he adds. But his path to his chosen profession was anything but a straight line, taking him halfway around the world to Vietnam where he served as a battlefield medic at age 20 and developed the skills and traits that helped make him the CRNA he is today.

Aubrey’s career path actually began in high school when he worked as an OR tech during surgeries, “scrubbing in and everything” as he puts it. He graduated in 1966 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War.

During basic training, Aubrey tested out of different potential positions — he wanted to be an OR tech and build on his high school experiences.

“They had other plans for me, though,” he said. “They wanted me to be a medic.” As part of the preparation to become a medic, he participated in weapons and survival training. Ultimately, he became an 18 Delta Special Forces combat medic and was assigned to a Green Beret team that undertook top-secret missions.

For his first mission, Aubrey boarded a plane with his team at the Army base he was stationed at in California. It wasn’t until after the plane took off that he learned he was bound for Vietnam.  He wouldn’t be stateside again for a year.

Early in 1968, during the Tet Offensive — a series of attacks by the North Vietnamese against five major South Vietnamese cities that marked the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War — Aubrey was stationed at a U.S. base in Quantri. There his team specialized in search-and-rescue missions for downed U.S. pilots. One harrowing experience will always stick with him.

“A North Vietnamese sniper shot one of ours, and we needed to get to him, but we couldn’t because the sniper would have picked us off,” Aubrey said. His Green Beret team had a sharpshooter — a guy who was an expert hunter back home — who took care of the sniper so they could take care of the wounded pilot.

“A few years later, after I graduated nursing school, I was working in the cardiac unit when this drug rep who looks familiar comes in,” recalled Aubrey. “I asked him if he was in ‘Nam, and he says, ‘Yeah.’ I asked him if was shot by a sniper, and he says, ‘Yeah,’ and kind of looked at me. We wound up talking for two hours. He was the only guy I ever cared for in the field who I ran into after the war.”

Aubrey wasn’t even able to talk about his missions in Vietnam until 1976, following a mandatory eight-year period of silence after discharge. His family, including Jan, his high school sweetheart who he married in 1971, thought he was stationed at the California Army base the entire time he was overseas. He was able to send his family letters but could say nothing in them about his actual whereabouts.

After his return to the states, Aubrey earned a physiology degree from Michigan State University in 1973 and an associate degree in nursing from Lansing Community College in Michigan in 1980. It was then that he decided to become a CRNA. He flew to Missouri for an interview with SE Missouri School of Nurse Anesthesia Program Administrator Bill Kirk, CRNA, who had also served in Vietnam. Vietnam vets are a close fraternity, and Aubrey was accepted into the program.

“I have used and drawn on my experience as a medic in Vietnam to be the CRNA I have become,” he said. “Dealing with terrible injuries, life-or-death situations, improvising, creating, responding — all these things were incredibly formative. I developed a sense for patients and their conditions—an ability to assess a situation with my eyes and ears before checking the monitors for confirmation. After providing care to patients in the field in Vietnam, working stateside in sterile ORs with the best equipment and drugs seems easy by comparison.”

After graduating from nurse anesthesia school in 1983, Aubrey went back into the service as a reservist in 1984 and took a commission as an officer. He was stationed in Texas and South Carolina and performed anesthesia in the Middle East. He retired in 2004 as a lieutenant colonel.

In civilian life, Aubrey spent most of his career as a locums CRNA. At one point, he was licensed in 12 states. “Sometimes I would work in a place for four or five years,” he said. “I’d travel back home on weekends, or my wife would travel out to my assignment so we could spend time together.”

A native of Missouri, Aubrey lived and worked in the Show Me State for a number of years before settling down in Tennessee. He was president of the Missouri Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1997 and was appointed by the governor to serve on the Missouri Board of Nursing where he was president from 2009 to 2012.

Now going on 73, Aubrey and Jan have been in Tennessee for almost five years, and he works three days a week at Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville. While he claims to be considering retirement, he definitely doesn’t sound too sure about it.  Being a CRNA has been everything Aubrey hoped it would be.

“Lots of times we are the invisible providers, but it’s rewarding to be part of a community, to be known and to be recognized for what you do,” said Aubrey. “I’m still doing something valuable here at the end of my career. I feel good about that.”

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Benjamin Leichliter, MSN, CRNA, APN

Surviving — and Thriving — During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created obstacles for all professions, but none have faced challenges greater than healthcare workers. Frontline providers such as CRNAs have had to cope with waves of critically ill patients, extra-long hours, working in full PPE, packed ICUs, worrying about catching the deadly disease and bringing it home to loved ones, and then some.

But for new CRNA Benjamin Leichliter of Kingsport, Tennessee, life’s obstacles beyond the dramatically altered work landscape tipped his stress scale even further in 2021. Faced with enormous challenges such brain surgery, graduating from his nurse anesthesia educational program, studying for and passing the National Certification Exam, planning a wedding, and starting a new job, Ben tackled them all by drawing on past experiences and leaning on lessons taught to him by two loved ones who greatly influenced his career path.

“My grandmother and mother are nurses,” he said. “Their learned ability to calm otherwise stressful situations made a huge imprint on me in my younger years.”

Ben knew from a young age he would follow in their footsteps and become a third-generation nurse. After spending time working in a cardiovascular ICU, he jumped at the offer to shadow a CRNA. Soon after he decided a career as a CRNA was for him and enrolled in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Nurse Anesthesia Program.

But studying anesthesia wouldn’t be the only challenge he faced in school.

“In January 2021, after noticing some concerning symptoms, I had some testing done that revealed a need for brain surgery,” Ben said. “My condition wasn’t life threatening, but, without surgery, it could have progressed to where I would lose the ability to practice as a nurse anesthetist. Here I am in nurse anesthesia school, facing a diagnosis that could render me unable to perform the tasks of a CRNA.”

He credits his program’s amazing faculty with helping him align his schedule so he could fulfill his coursework and use every day of his four-week vacation to recover from surgery.

“I had to be careful not to stress myself during my recovery, but I would be lying if I told you I stopped studying,” he admitted with a determined smile. “Becoming a CRNA was a dream, and I was not letting anything get in the way of that dream. I knew I needed surgery, and I knew I needed to graduate and pass boards. I never got hung up on one or the other — they were both going to happen, and that was that.”

Through it all, Ben credits his then fiancee and now wife, Breanna.

“Breanna supported me through school, cared for me during recovery and loved me every second of every day,” he said. The two embraced another challenge together — planning a wedding during the pandemic. Ultimately, they decided to have a small ceremony in Hilton Head, SC, on Aug. 21. Ben calls it the happiest day of his life.

A few days later, Ben and Breanna adopted two golden retriever puppies, Audo and Chattin, before he started his new job in September. For some, this would have been like the proverbial cherry on top of the stress sundae, but Ben says the brother and sister retrievers have actually been “super helpful for managing stress.”

So at a time when everyday tasks such as going to the store to buy groceries have become unexpectedly challenging, what mindset did Ben adopt to not only survive, but thrive, during such a difficult year?

“Being a CRNA teaches you stress management and how to overcome stressful times,” he said. “I learned from my prior stressors a lot; I thought, ‘I’ve made it through that past situation, I can make it through this one.’

“Prioritize, itemize and carry on…take things day by day and do what it takes to chip away at challenges. Celebrate what you have accomplished at the end of the day. The next day, wake up and repeat. Don’t forget to keep happiness and joy present,” Ben said.

In addition to Breanna, he also credits his faith, and he hopes his story might help others through difficult situations during the seemingly never-ending pandemic.

“Mindset and determination kept me happy and focused during the pandemic,” Ben said. “For me now, stress exists but does not carry the pressure that makes it mentally debilitating. It is nothing more than a reminder to prioritize and overcome.”

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Jerrod Weems, MSN, CRNA

Applying CRNA Leadership Skills to Public Office

CRNAs are widely known as leaders in the operating room, but Jerrod Weems of Morristown, Tennessee, has plans to use the leadership skills he has developed as a CRNA to get elected to and serve on the Hamblen County Board of Education.

“As CRNAs, it is our job to devise individual care plans, listen to our patients, and answer their questions,” said Jerrod, who works for Hamblen Anesthesia at Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System. “These experiences mold us into critical thinkers and leaders. We would be doing a disservice to not utilize these learned abilities to advocate for our profession and serve as elected officials.”

Jerrod has been on an ambitious career track. He earned his AAS at Walters State Community College, BSN at the University of Tennessee, and MSN from Lincoln Memorial University. Now, just 28 years old, he is already a vital part of an all-CRNA group that ensures patients access to surgical, labor and delivery, and emergency healthcare services. He had often considered running for public office, but always convinced himself not to try. Finally, after several conversations with friends and family, he decided to give it a go.  His aim: To shake up a board of education whose members average more than twice his age and bring needed change to Hamblen County schools.

“The average age of school board members in our community is 64 years old,” said Jerrod. “The next generation of leaders needs to start playing a greater role in government affairs. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we need more healthcare professionals representing us in government. I hope that together, as CRNAs, we can build a strong cadre of candidates who support each other to get elected. There has never been a better time.”

Jerrod is aware of the large commitment of time entailed with both campaigning for and serving in public office, but he’s determined to put in the work necessary to be successful. His campaign slogan is “A Fresh Vision for a Brighter Future.”

“I always say that you campaign the way you will represent,” he said. “I’ve made it a priority to focus my time on understanding the concerns of educators, parents and students through surveys and direct conversations. I feel like I have a greater sense of understanding about the priorities our community is looking at — and that’s what campaigning is all about.”

Jerrod believes that his understanding of the issues, combined with the leadership skills he’s learned as a CRNA, will prove vital to serving on the board.

“As CRNAs, we must maintain a calm temperament, no matter the situation. This quality is extremely helpful when running for public office,” he said. “Critical thinking skills are imperative in our line of work. They allow us to come up with new ideas and solutions from different perspectives. CRNAs must also be adaptable. In public office, this is important when the demographics of your community vary so much. Having the ability to be adaptable makes you relatable to a larger population.”

In Jerrod’s view, just as important to his campaign to get elected is that fact that CRNAs are, at their core, registered nurses. “Year in and year out RNs are the #1 most trusted profession,” he observed. “And now, more than ever, we need elected officials we can really trust.”

The board of education primary is May 3. Jerrod is running as a Republican against another Republican candidate. There is no Democratic primary. If he wins the primary and nobody petitions to enter the election and run as a Democrat in the August election, Jerrod will be seated on the board of education.   

But no matter the end result, Jerrod’s mission of advocating for and educating people about his profession will continue. “I have had the opportunity to speak about nurse anesthesia at all levels of education, from elementary to high school, through career days and fairs,” he said. “I will keep speaking about nurse anesthesia in our schools regardless of the election outcome.”

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Kimecia Taylor, DNP, CRNA

How a Caring CRNA Changed the Course of One RN’s Life 

Babies have a way of entering the world with a bang. Such was the case with Kimecia Taylor’s first-born, Ava, who was safely delivered eight years ago by emergency c-section after putting her mom through an exhausting day and a half of labor.

As children do, Ava changed Kim and her husband Adrian’s world forever. But on the day she was born, so did the remarkable CRNA who was involved in Kim’s labor and delivery.

Kim recalls that she’d been a bedside nurse for about two years at the time she was pregnant with Ava, but she was completely oblivious to the nurse anesthesia profession. She had become immersed in nursing leadership and was in the process of transitioning from the bedside to a full-time leadership role.

At 36 weeks, Kim was scheduled to be induced due to preeclampsia. “I was expecting a Hollywood-production delivery like Moms in the movies,” she laughed. “But it turned out to be the complete opposite. After about 36 hours of laboring, we were finally close, and I bore down to facilitate the delivery.”

But unbeknownst to Kim, Ava’s life was suddenly in jeopardy due to a nuchal cord x3, and her heart rate was plummeting. “My OB could not be reached so an unknown physician stormed into the room and yelled repeatedly, ‘To the OR STAT!’” Kim remembers being “clueless” as to what was occurring while everyone in the room started moving extremely fast to get her into surgery; however, no one was communicating any information to her. “An unbearable amount of anxiety, fear, and panic set in,” she said. “I thought my baby had passed away.”

As Kim was being rushed to the OR, it was then that “a man in blue hospital scrubs” grabbed her hand and told her gently but confidently, “Your baby is in distress, and we are going to get her out safely. You are in great hands.” Kim sighed in relief and her panic dissipated. The “blue scrubs wearer” had already placed her epidural, injected medication to numb her from the chest down, and protected her airway. Kim was prepped and an emergent c-section was successfully and painlessly performed.

“After recovering from my epidural and light sedation, the only thing I could think was ‘the person who grabbed my hand…that is what I want to do!’” Kim vividly recalls. “That was my first encounter with a CRNA. His sincere spirit and advanced knowledge left a remarkable impression.” Kim said that as soon as she could, newborn in her arms, she started researching the nurse anesthetist’s role and the requirements for program consideration and making prompt plans to pursue a career in nurse anesthesia.

“I truly contribute this very event, the confidence and knowledge of my provider, and my enlightened perspective of the immeasurable bounds of nursing, to the reason why I have dedicated myself to the nurse anesthesia profession,” Kim said.

The CRNA who calmed Kim and helped deliver Ava was Dwayne Accardo, DNP, CRNA, director of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Nurse Anesthesia program. Several years later, during Kim’s interview for admission to the UTHSC program, she reminded Dwayne about the time she “met him” for the first time and told him it was the reason she was there.

“It was the coolest thing ever,” he recalls. “That I made such an impression it changed her entire career course was amazing to me. Now she’s my colleague. It’s the greatest compliment someone can have, and it underscores the kind of impact that we, as CRNAs, have on people’s lives.”

Kim completed her education at UTHSC and became a CRNA in 2021. “When I graduated, I was so appreciative for the privilege of obtaining my doctorate in nursing practice with a specialty in anesthesia,” she said. “And I was so grateful that I would finally be able to serve patients in this way.”

Today Kim works as a CRNA at Regional One Health in Memphis. She and Dwayne remain close friends and colleagues. “I always thank Dr. Accardo for believing in me and affording me such a grand opportunity to be a part of the greatest profession,” she said.

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Molly Wright, DNP, CRNA

Embracing the Joys and Challenges of Medical Mission Trips

It’s been over two years since Molly Wright, DNP, CRNA, of Jackson, Tennessee, has been able to serve on a medical mission trip due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To say she’s anxious for the opportunity to return to Guatemala, Haiti, or the Dominican Republic and care for those less fortunate is perhaps the understatement of the year.

“Doing mission work touches my heart and soul like nothing else,” said Molly, a veteran of numerous humanitarian excursions to the aforementioned countries. Since her first medical mission in 2007, she has donated her expertise, PTO, and financial resources to participate on trips as often as 3-4 times per year. That ended in 2020 when COVID hit. “I had Guatemala trips canceled in 2020 and ’21,” she said, noting that there currently seems to be far fewer volunteer opportunities available except through organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse or Doctors Without Borders.

A CRNA since 1994, Molly went into nursing with the goal of becoming a CRNA. “I was a single parent and a friend of mine was a CRNA,” she said. “I knew that career would provide for myself and my two babies!” Unbeknownst to Molly on her way to becoming a CRNA, her extensive background as an ICU nurse and two years spent as a surgical nurse would be put to good use along with her anesthesia expertise on the medical mission trips that were the furthest thing from her mind at the time.

Molly became interested in mission trips in general around 2000. “My first trips were with our church where we would have Bible School and build a small church for the community,” she recalled. “I loved the travel and going to places where people were underserved in so many ways.” But after her first medical mission trip in 2007, she never looked back. “It is always such a joy to provide medical care for people in countries where they don’t have access to medications and hygiene items and where I can just answer basic diet/health questions for them.”

From a case standpoint, Molly said she has never ceased to be astonished by some of the medical conditions people live with for years because they can’t afford to have surgery. “Hernias the size of cantaloupes, hydroceles the size of softballs…it truly leaves me speechless,” she said. “Because we provide surgery and anesthesia for free, we are able to help so many people in poor, underserved areas.  A community will send out a car that has a loudspeaker system on top of it, and they talk into a microphone and go around the town advertising that the Americanos are coming on a certain date.  Word spreads like wildfire!”

Molly explained that shortly after arrival the medical team will see patients preoperatively on a Sunday afternoon and plan the operating room schedule for the week ahead. “Patients are then divided evenly throughout the week, always allowing for one or two add-ons each day,” she said. “We also unload our supplies and get the ORs in working order for the week.” On her many medical mission trips, Molly has provided anesthesia for procedures such as hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, breast biopsies, excision of masses, hysterectomies, and hydroceles, just to name a few.

During a typical day Molly and her colleagues will arrive early in the morning and meet the first patient with an interpreter, start their IV, and explain how their day will go. Once in surgery the appropriate anesthetics are provided, and when the procedure is over the anesthesia professional might also provide the postoperative care or leave the patient with an RN from the mission team to provide that care.  The patient’s family stays with them in recovery until it is time to go home.

Ask Molly to pick a “most memorable experience” and she gushes, “Oh gosh, I have so many! I literally could talk for hours about all the adventures shared with friends and former students.” She delights in recalling simple acts of kindness done for the traveling healthcare professionals and by them for the people in the communities they go to serve—the truest form of ‘paying it forward’ there is. “There have been so many times when we have arrived at an airport and the airline checked our bags for free because they heard we were going on a mission trip,” she said. “And it is common for those of on the mission trip to bring shoes and clothes to leave behind for the community.  I have a picture of a woman who got my old, worn-out tennis shoes and she was grinning from ear to ear.  They were a treasure to her.  What a lesson for me and my materialistic ways!”

But it’s the stories of patient care that stay with Molly the most. “One time we had a baby born by c-section in the OR where only Dominican healthcare providers were working,” Molly said. “The baby had meconium aspiration and the very young under-trained nurses took it to the baby bed and didn’t know what to do.  So we went to help and the baby’s pulse was very weak and it wasn’t breathing.  We suctioned and intubated the baby and did a few compressions and it came around and pinked up.  The next day we went to see it and what a gorgeous baby it was! There are so many stories just like this one!”

Molly expressed a desire to see more healthcare professionals, especially CRNAs, volunteer for mission trips once the pandemic is over. The experience is unforgettable, she said, and the need is greater than the number of volunteers willing to participate.  

“When I get off the plane, wherever the mission trip is, my heart always feels ‘at home,’” Molly reflected. “Hearing people talk in another language, feeling the tropical temperature, seeing the smiles of the local people, and knowing we are there to provide something those people so desperately need…nothing can replace that. NOTHING!

“We need to get our focus off ourselves way more than we do.  Putting our focus on helping others in an environment where maybe we feel a little uncomfortable is healthy,” she said, adding that as highly educated healthcare professionals it is also good to experience providing anesthesia “without all of the comforts of home.”

“It makes us better providers when we meet the challenge of giving anesthesia without all of the monitors we are used to; it forces us to rely on our eyes and ears and remember how to use different medications,” Molly said. “Not only that, on a mission trip you might do anesthesia for one case and then circulate the next!  You might sew up an incision, scrub and pass instruments, or wash and sterilize instruments.  You become resourceful and really dependent on each other to take the best possible care of the patients.”

For Molly Wright, her next trip won’t come soon enough.

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