Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center recognizes the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) profession by celebrating National CRNA Week, January 24-30. This year’s theme is “CRNAs: Making a Difference One Patient at a Time.”
CRNAs have been an important part of the healthcare team since 1956. Their role continues to expand, being identified as the key to delivering the safest, highest quality, most cost-effective anesthesia care in today’s changing healthcare environment.
CRNAs are advanced practice nurses with graduate-level education in anesthesiology. They safely administer 40 million anesthetics to Americans each year and are the primary providers of anesthesia in rural communities like PCH/FMC.
At PCH/FMC, four CRNAs provide anesthesia services to surgical patients. They are: David Grazaitis, CRNA, APN, manager of anesthesia services; Lee Webber, CRNA, APN; Maribeth McCormack, CRNA, APN; and Adam Schneider, CRNA, APN.
Additionally, Grazaitis and Webber have a specialty training certificate in pain management and ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks, and provide anesthesia to patients in PCH’s Pain Management Clinic. McCormack and Schneider, who joined PCH/FMC this January, are pursuing this specialty training certificate.
Training site for anesthesia students
In 2014, PCH became a clinical site for graduate-level nursing students with specialty training in anesthesia. Through PCH’s direct affiliation program with Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville (SIU-E), nurse anesthetist students perform clinical rotations at the hospital as part of their education.
“The university approached us to see if we would be interested in participating in this program,” Grazaitis said. “Integrating the university students with our ability to provide a vast array of anesthesia services has been advantageous for both us and the students. Maribeth joined us a year ago, and Adam most recently.”
Under the direction of the clinical instructors, the students administer anesthesia to surgery patients, as well as patients in the Pain Management Clinic. The training at PCH is especially valuable since pain management is not currently part of SIU-E’s curriculum, Grazaitis added.
Webber added: “For a community and hospital this size, the types of anesthesia being administered here are rather remarkable. We are able to provide excellent acute and chronic pain control for our surgeons’ patients, allowing PCH to provide a superior quality of care that is often only offered at much larger institutions.”