Nurse anesthetists at UPMC
and across the nation will celebrate National Nurse Anesthetist Week this week with events to educate the public about the important role they play in patient
At UPMC, the celebration included the third annual “Souper Bowl” on Jan. 22 at the McKee Place Family House, for which Certified Registered
Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) prepared dinner and dessert for patients and their
families. Also for the third year, UPMC CRNAs are collecting “Jeans for Teens”
for donation to homeless teenagers. The jeans are being collected at UPMC
Presbyterian, UPMC Passavant and UPMC Mercy hospitals until Jan. 26.
CRNAs practice in every
setting in which anesthesia is delivered, such as traditional hospital surgical
suites and obstetrical delivery rooms, as well as the offices of many health
care providers like dentists and plastic surgeons.
Initially, nurse anesthesia
education was just on-the-job training. As the art and science of anesthesia has
evolved, the educational process has evolved to formal instructional training
in addition to a strong clinical component. Certificates in anesthesia nursing
were granted by hospital-based nurse anesthesia programs. The first bachelor's
degree in nurse anesthesia was granted in 1971, and by 1987, a master’s degree
became the professional standard. Today, nurse anesthesia education offers
doctoral degrees (Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP).
For a more hands-on experience,
there will be information tables outside the UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC
Montefiore cafeterias. One of the available activities will give those
interested a chance to intubate simulation mannequins. As a thank you and in
celebration, surgical services colleagues will be served coffee and donuts on Jan. 25. UPMC nurse anesthesia representatives will be on hand at the
Pine Richland High School career fair in February to promote awareness of this
vital role in health care.