Ep 116: Importance of Mentoring in CRNA Leadership Development

For more than 20 years, the AANA Mentorship Program has played an integral role in the development of young CRNAs thanks to both the mentors and mentees that have committed to the annual event. Tracy Castleman, CRNA, has been deeply involved in the mentoring process so we asked her to join us to talk about the program, why it’s important for CRNAs to get involved, and what young professionals can expect to get out of this experience.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

The future of any profession lies in the hands of its young people, and that’s no different for CRNAs. That’s why we advocate all the time for people to get involved in the AANA and other organizations. It helps the profession continue to grow and move forward.

One great opportunity the AANA provides every year is the Mentorship Program, and Tracy Castleman, CRNA, has been involved with it since the beginning. The program began at the annual meeting in 1999 but was skipped in 2000 because there was already so much going on at the IFNA meeting in Chicago. But it returned in 2001 and has been going strong every year since.

Despite its longevity, there are plenty of people that either aren’t aware of the program or not completely sure what all is involved. So we’re going to lean on Tracy’s experience on this episode to learn about both sides of the program. Whether you are interested in becoming a mentor or thinking about singing up as a mentee, we’ll go into detail on what you can expect from the AANA Mentorship Program and why it’s so important for our profession.

So as you get started, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • What made mentoring such a priority in Tracy’s life.
  • How the AANA mentoring program began.
  • The program’s growth over 20+ years.
  • What makes a person a mentor and why is it so important to provide that guidance to young CRNAs.
  • Want to get involved in the program? Find out how the process goes.
  • What happens on-site when the mentorship takes place.
  • She’s in charge of the charitable arm of the NJANA and tells the story of how that was started.

Check it out in the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

[4:47] – Background on Tracy   

[7:13] – Why mentoring is important

[9:28] – The first mentoring program

[10:55] – Growth of the program

[12:17] – Reasons mentorship is important for CRNAs 

[14:37] – Key attributes of mentors and mentees

[17:51] – How someone can get involved

[19:16] – What happens on-site

[28:31] – Charitable arm of NJANA

[34:06] – Final thoughts on today’s topic


“When you take them in that moment, that timeframe when they’re still willing to learn and they’re willing to model a behavior, and you put them side-by-side with somebody who is motivated to share their experiences with them and allow them to have a safe space to ask questions and to bounce off ideas, I believe we create a better, more professional workforce.”

-Tracy Castleman, CRNA

Share this episode with a friend: