Ep 146: Leading Up – How CRNAs Can Lead Without Being in Charge

Being a great leader doesn’t require a person to be in a position of power. Every CRNA has the opportunity to make a difference each day by leading up. The dean of Loma Linda University’s School of Nursing, Shawn Collins, PhD, DNP, CRNA, joins the show today to talk with us about this idea of making an impact from whatever role you’re in.

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

On This Episode:

Leadership comes in many forms. It’s not always the person in power that makes the biggest impact on a business. Sometimes leadership is found in places you wouldn’t expect.

That idea of ‘leading up’ is one that we want to explore more on this episode of the podcast. We asked Shawn Collins, PhD, DNP, CRNA, to be our guest this week. He became the first male dean at Loma Linda University’s School of Nursing after moving out to California a couple of years ago, but he’s been a leader through his career.

Today we’ll discuss how CRNAs can help improve and change things within our profession without being in a position of power. In a similar vain to advocacy, leading up can benefit nursing tremendously.

As you get started on the episode, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • Why he feels this topic is important for the profession.
  • The different types of power that we can have without having an official title.
  • Knowing your BATNA – Best Alternative To Negotiating an Agreement
  • What leading up means
  • What can you do to lead up and an example of how he’s done it previously.
  • Are there better ways to implement ideas?
  • What is emotional intelligence and how does it play a role in leading up?
  • What personality traits and characteristics does it take to be a good leader?

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

2:39 – Background on our guest today

5:03 – Why this topic is important  

6:11 – Different types of power  

9:21 – What is leading up?  

12:47 – Takeaways from being on hospital board

14:34 – Tips for leading up

18:20 – Emotional intelligence

22:43 – Leadership is learned

24:48 – Final thoughts from Shawn

26:45 – Lightning Round


“It’s leading those above you, influencing those above you to make changes for the good of the organization. And it’s about getting others to follow you out of respect and commitment rather than fear and compliance.”

-Shawn Collins, PhD, DNP, CRNA





CRNA History

The Legacy of Florence McQuillen, the AANA’s First Executive Director

Our historical series continues today with a detailed look back on the life and career of Florence ‘Mack’ McQuillen, the first executive director of the AANA and someone who held the position for nearly a quarter century. We’re excited to have Nancy Bruton-Maree, CRNA, and Sandy Ouellette, CRNA to tell us about how she helped shape the association and why she was considered by some to be a ‘benevolent dictator.

CRNA Careers

Nurturing Knowledge with Thanks

As we celebrate another Thanksgiving, we want to show our appreciation for an organization that does so much for CRNAs. Many people don’t know about the AANA Foundation’s purpose and why it’s important to individual CRNAs working in the OR, but they play a critical role in supporting and growing the profession. Today we’ll spend time with Executive Director Nat Carmichael and Treasurer Mike Anderson, DNP, CRNA to learn more about the best kept secret in our profession.




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J. Cross CRNA
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This podcast is very well put together. I love the hosts Sharon & Jeremy, they do a fantastic job at presenting topics as well as getting great speakers on the show! This is my morning commute podcast everyday! Thank you for all that you do!
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I started listening to this podcast religiously early on in my CRNA journey, a year before applying to CRNA school. The content in this podcast was one of my most helpful resources for getting into my first choice school, Wake Forest! It has also been a huge motivator for getting involved with the AANA now and throughout my career. I highly recommend this podcast to every prospective CRNA I meet.
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I appreciate hearing the latest and greatest in the world of Nurse Anesthesiology while also getting Class B credits. Just listen on your commute for a win/win experience. I love the perspectives from Jeremy and Sharon who both ask varied and insightful questions!
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If you’re a CRNA or any medical professional, I highly recommend giving this podcast a listen. Hosts have a great rapport.