Ep 183: CRNA Manpower – The History of Shortages and the Studies That Followed (Part 1)

Over the past five decades, quite a bit of attention has been paid to the challenges facing the CRNA workforce, especially when numbers dropped significantly in the 80s and 90s. The lack of manpower pushed Congress, the AANA, and other organizations to study the reasons behind the lack of graduates and determine what solutions might exist. Nancy Bruton-Maree, CRNA, and Sandy Ouellette, CRNA, join us today to take us back through the history of these shortages and the studies that followed in part one of this two-part series.

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

On This Episode:

Fighting for the future of the profession has always been at the core of CRNAs, and that’s a process that’s been happening for decades. The focus of the fight might shift, but advocacy is always at the heart of the matter.

One key challenge we’ve faced is a shortage in manpower that dates back to the 70s and 80s. A number of factors led to the lack of graduates and we’re taking a look back with show historians, Nancy Bruton-Maree, CRNA, and Sandy Ouellette, CRNA. We’ll also learn more about the studies that followed, which were aimed at identifying the reasons behind the shortages and recommend solutions.

This is the first part of a two-part series with this initial episode focused on the years leading up to the early 2000s.

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

  • The stark decline in graduates between 1982-1989 and what caused it.
  • An outline of the key factors that caused this drop in manpower.
  • A study found that program closures centered around three major areas.
  • Details on the 1990 CRNA study commissioned by Congress and what they recommended for CRNA manpower over the coming decades.
  • The AANA appointed its first and only commission to address this issue.
  • What role did anesthesiology training programs have in this during the 90s?
  • The AANA Foundation’s study on supply in demand in 2003 and the findings.
  • The findings of the Cromwell study and the crossroads it identified.
  • Other studies that were done through the years.

We also wanted to mention that we’ve gotten so much great feedback about this historical series and we thank you for that. If you ever want to connect with Sandy or Nancy to ask them a question or request a subject for the podcast, you can email them at nbmaree@gmail.com and souellette515@gmail.com.

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

[2:40] – Trends from 70s and 80s   

[5:40] – The reductions at Wake Forest

[9:02] – The major factors that led to this issue 

[10:52] – Factors in the 80s

[13:18] – Study on Program Closures

[17:05] – CRNA manpower study in 1990 

[19:20] – Obstacles to achieving the study’s recommendations

[26:39] – Steps the AANA has taken

[30:49] – Anesthesiology training in the 90s

[37:04] – Supply and Demand study in 2003

[40:13] – Economic impact on the profession

[42:35] – 2006 study

[46:59] – Key points from 2009 study

[48:59] – Cromwell study

“These studies are done but they just never quite hit the bullseye because there are so many factors that can change the workforce that we aren’t even thinking about right now.”

-Sandy Ouellette, CRNA







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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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