Ep 182: The Push for Full Practice Authority for VA CRNAs

More than 1,000 CRNAs work with the Veterans Health Administration and they can’t operate with full practice authority like their counterparts serving in every branch of the military. The Association of Veterans Affairs Nurse Anesthetists is working to change that despite significant pushback, and former president Diane Boettger, MHS, CRNA, joins the show to talk about her time on the board and the work the organization is doing to push CRNAs forward.

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

On This Episode:

The issue of full practice authority is one that’s been around for many years and one we’ve discussed quite a bit on this podcast.

We want to take that conversation in another direction today with Diane Boettger, MHS, CRNA. She’s a former president of the Association of Veterans Affairs Nurse Anesthetists, which represents the more than 1,000 CRNAs that work within the Veterans Health Administration across the country. It’s a volunteer, grassroots organization that relies solely on membership dues to help them continue to advocate on behalf of CRNAs.

Now that Boettger is no longer employed by the AVANA, she can speak a little more freely about the work they’re doing and the challenges they’re up against. Plus, she opens up about why a lack of full practice authority is impacting veterans and their access to care.

So as you listen to the episode, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • The work they’re doing towards establishing full practice authority.
  • The different standards that have been established for service members versus veteran services.
  • The impact these rules have had on veterans and the care they receive.
  • What happened during COVID and how practices changed.
  • Details on the amount of pushback that’s been received against full practice authority.
  • The opioid crisis on the AVANA agenda and the role CRNAs can play.

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

[2:17] – Background on this topic

[3:18] – Why this is important

[4:25] – How AVANA is structured

[8:59] – Establishing full practice authority

[13:33] – Different standards while serving

[16:20] – How veterans have been affected

[20:15] – What changed during COVID

[22:57] – Why the huge pushback

[25:55] – What can CRNAs do to help?

[29:41] – Opioid crisis

[31:37] – How to help AVANA

[31:57] – Closing message



“It definitely has affected veteran’s access to care, and what we have been suggesting is to enable us to have these national standards of full practice authority. If there’s a CRNA that’s available, a CRNA can perform that procedure. We’re not in any way, shape or form trying to get away with or do away with or eliminate the role of a physician anesthesiologist, but perhaps the practice model might change.”

-Diane Boettger, MHS, 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 enjoy listening every morning. Great content and always a pleasure to learn something new.
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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.