MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 22, 2014) — Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed this week (Jan. 19 25) as National Nurse Anesthetists Week.
Linda Huber, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), said the Governor’s proclamation honors the first nursing specialty in the country, which has deep roots in Minnesota. Huber, CRNA, RN, is president of the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA).
While most take anesthesia for granted, said Huber, modern anesthesia – the ability to make a patient immobile and free from pain – allowed surgeons the time to perform ever more complex operations, such as cardiac surgery, limb replacements, and organ transplants.
And some of the key developments in modern anesthesia, she said, were developed by a nurse at the Mayo Clinic at the turn of the last century, Alice Magaw.
"She not only helped refine, what in the 19th century, were often crude anesthesia techniques, she recorded the developments and published them for the world to see,” said Huber. "She was so influential in the field of anesthesia, and so instrumental in its development, that Dr. Charles Mayo would one day refer to her as ‘the mother of anesthesia.’”
Out of her work, and the work of her nursing colleagues and successors, nurse anesthesia grew into the first nursing specialty in the country.
Today, CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses who administer approximately 34 million anesthetics in the United States each year. They practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered – traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; ambulatory surgical centers; Public Health Services; and the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, and plastic surgeons.
To become a nurse anesthetist, a candidate must earn at least a master’s degree at an accredited graduate anesthesia program. The candidate must also be a licensed registered nurse and have a least one year of experience in an acute care setting – such as an ICU or emergency room. Successful candidates must have a passed a national certification exam and obtain a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education every two years.
National Nurse Anesthetists Week was established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) to encourage CRNAs to educate the public about anesthesia safety and the benefits of receiving anesthesia care from nurse anesthetists.
About the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists MANA, with nearly 1,500 members, represents the nurse anesthesia profession in Minnesota. More information on nurse anesthesia can be found on its website www.mnana.org or on the AANA website, www.aana.com.
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For photos to accompany this story, a copy of the Governor’s proclamation, or more information, contact Marcus Kessler at 651-690-0897 or firstname.lastname@example.org.