It’s not easy to find any silver linings in the heavy, dark cloud that is the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are there to be found if you look hard enough. One example is the message repeated by many student registered nurse anesthetists that this world healthcare crisis has provided a trial-by-fire training ground for the next generation of CRNAs. Caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients wasn’t what any nurse anesthetist, from seasoned veterans to those just starting their education, could have foreseen a year ago. But whenever this pandemic finally ends, it’s safe to say that many new CRNAs entering the healthcare workforce will be ready for just about anything!  

Steven Moon, an SRNA at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, shared his story with TANA for posting during CRNA Week. Special thanks and well wishes to all the SRNAs and CRNAs on the front lines of COVID-19!

“I began my nursing career and CRNA school preparation in June 2018 working in a Level I trauma center in the Medical-Surgical ICU in Flint, Michigan. This also included being transformed into a COVID-only ICU during the winter of 2019 and into the spring of 2020. As part of the ICU team, we worked with limited staff, PPE and resources, and used these limited resources and our critical-thinking skills to turn a step-down unit into an ICU to help care for patients with this new disease. Implementing new and unfamiliar treatment interventions and having to learn how to respond rapidly to unfamiliar situations was something I felt contributed to my CRNA school preparation. Additionally, I returned to Michigan during my Christmas break to lend a helping hand to our non-COVID-19 sister unit, the CCU, to help lessen the burden of staff shortages there, while also helping my parents out at home while my Mom began her chemotherapy treatments. Being able to use the critical-care knowledge and experiences to help care for patients in an advanced role was one of the pushes for me to want to become a CRNA. Now that I am here, as an SRNA, I am excited to put my prior and current learning experiences to use in caring for future patients.”

(Steven Moon, holding the “to” sign, and part of the team he worked with in the COVID-19 ICU prior to becoming an SRNA.)

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