TANA was well represented in the second class of Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (FAANA) which was inducted on Aug. 13 during the 2022 AANA Annual Congress in Chicago. Congratulations to TANA members Dwayne Accardo, DNP, CRNA, Linda Hill, DNSc, DNP, CRNA, and Lois Stewart, PhD, CRNA, for doing their profession and their state association proud!
According to the AANA, CRNAs who are selected as Fellows of the AANA are recognized as accomplished leaders and outstanding practitioners, educators, researchers, and advocates for the profession. The FAANA designation communicates a commitment to excellence in the profession of nurse anesthesiology.
Dwayne Accardo has been with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) since 2006, where he currently serves as the program administrator for the Nurse Anesthesiology Concentration. As an assistant professor, Dwayne specializes in innovative board preparation techniques, obstetrical anesthesia, and simulation, providing both didactic and clinical instruction to SRNAs. Clinically, Dwayne practices within the Methodist Healthcare System serving the Memphis area. He is active in both the AANA and TANA, currently contributing his time and expertise as a member of the TANA Education Committee.
“My first job as an RN was in an operating room. That was my first exposure to CRNAs and ultimately what led to my desire to become one,” Dwayne recalled. “I want to give much credit to my program director at Webster University, Gary Clark, CRNA, EdD, who accepted me into a very competitive and small class of eight. His influence led to many decisions I have made in my career and I am forever grateful for him.”
Dwayne said he is “beyond honored” by being recognized as an FAANA, which he considers to be the pinnacle of his career. “I have a hard time finding words to express how grateful I am,” he said. “I am hopeful that this recognition will open new doors and new future opportunities. My focus moving forward is to continue to improve our program to better benefit our students.”
Professor Linda Hill is the program administrator and coordinator of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) Nurse Anesthesia Concentration. She has been a CRNA for 26 years, 25 of them as a nurse anesthesia educator. Her passion is mentoring SRNAs and new CRNAs on how to get involved in and give back to their profession—her way of “paying forward” the mentorship she herself has received from the many CRNAs who have inspired her throughout her career.
Linda’s interest in becoming a CRNA began while she was working as an ICU nurse in a liver transplant center in Memphis. The mentorship of friend and colleague Becky Barnett, CRNA, got her to start thinking seriously about a career in nurse anesthesia, and Linda’s late husband, Brett, strongly encouraged her to take the leap.
In the last few years, Linda’s focus has been on the creation of the DNP program at UTC. She says she is energized working with the first cohort of students scheduled to graduate in 2024. “I’m having fun mentoring them,” she said. “I simply love what I do.”
Regarding her fellowship, Linda is equally enthusiastic. “I’m both humbled and amazed to be chosen as a Fellow of the AANA,” she said, noting that she cried when she read the letters of support she received from various colleagues. “This is quite an honor!”
Lois Stewart is the founding director of the new nurse anesthesia program based on the Knoxville campus of South College. The inaugural cohort of 40 nurse anesthesia residents is currently in its first year of front-loaded didactics. Lois explained that the program incorporates a hybrid curriculum delivery across all three years of study, consisting of synchronous and asynchronous distance education with intermittent mandatory on-campus intensive sessions in Knoxville.
Lois said she was drawn to the profession by a complexity of factors, including the expert scientific and clinical knowledge required to be a CRNA; the challenge of experiencing a diversity of cases; the opportunity to provide individualized patient care; and being able to serve in the integral role of patient advocate. She recognized numerous mentors who lined her career path to cheer her on: Jackie Rowles, DNP, CRNA; Corey Davis, PhD, CRNA; Michael Fallacaro, DNS, CRNA; Gary Hahn, MSNA, CRNA; Louise Hershkowitz, CRNA; Jan Setnor, MSN, CRNA; James Crawford, MD; Beverly George Gay, DNP, FNP; and Anita Siccardi, EdD, RN. And most of all, she thanked her husband, Greg, for his unending love, support, and wisdom.
Formerly a resident of Virginia and Indiana, Lois was an active member of VANA and INANA. She moved to Tennessee in 2020 and immediately became immersed in establishing the nurse anesthesia program at South College, an undertaking that has consumed most of her time. “I do have plans to get more involved in the state of association of my new home soon,” she said.
Lois described being recognized as an FAANA as one of her greatest honors. “It means that in my own small way I have succeeded at contributing to a fantastic profession that has given me so very much fulfillment and opportunity,” she explained. “It signals that I not only warmed my hands over the sustaining fire of those CRNAs who came before me, but that I have helped to bank and stoke that fire for the future. And in a very meaningful way, it indicates that my years of effort to honor the example of my mentors and role models have borne fruit and been recognized.”