Ep 51: Ronald Caulk, CRNA – An Agent For Global Change

Ronald Caulk poured more than 50 years of his life into being a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and his impact on the profession can still be felt today. Among his lifetime of achievements was his determination to have CRNAs around the world recognized for the work they do. Today we’ll look back at his life and his legacy with Sandy Ouellette, CRNA.

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

On This Episode:

Many people have had a hand in growing the nurse anesthetist profession through the years, and we try to share those contributions and keep their memories alive on this podcast.

Today we turn our attention to Ronald Caulk, who was one of the first men in the profession and a CRNA for more than 50 years. As you can imagine, his impact reached far and wide but one of his greatest accomplishments was helping expand the profession globally.  

Few people knew him as well as Sandy Ouellette and she joined us again for this episode of the Beyond the Mask Podcast. She had a long relationship with him as they both shared a passion for the profession.

[1:59] – Sandy Ouellette back in the studio with us today to discuss Ronald Caulk.

[2:37] – Who was Ronald Caulk and what did he accomplish?

The early portion of Caulk’s career took place in Arizona, where he eventually became president of the Arizona Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1968. He would advance to the national level and serve on many different committees before he was elected president of the AANA in 1977. Among his many accomplishments was establishing the Council on Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists, which led him to his wife.  

[5:02] – Most of his level of service at the state level was with the Arizona Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

[6:09] – He had many AANA contributions.

[7:10] – The establishment of the Council on Recertification and how he ended up meeting his wife Susan Smith.

After leaving Arizona, Caulk moved to the Midwest and began taking a greater interest in the profession worldwide. He represented the AANA at the first International Symposium of Nurse Anesthetists in Switzerland in 1985, which led him to focusing much of his time on starting the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists. Sandy also played a key role in creating the IFNA and that’s where they began working closely together.

[10:13] – How did Sandy and Ron get involved together?

[10:42] – They began working very closely when the idea of the IFNA began.

[12:40] – How the IFNA formed.

[15:22] – One of Ronald Caulk’s most memorable experiences happened on a trip to Ghana.

As you can tell, Caulk had a lot to contribute to our profession and left a lasting impact with his passing in 2016. We asked Sandy to give us more insight into his legacy and lasting impact.

[17:47] – Tell us about his contributions to the AANA and IFNA.

[21:18] – Sandy tells a story about a time they visited North Carolina and Sandy’s jeep got stuck on the beach.

[26:02] – How will Ron be remembered?

Thanks for checking out another episode of Beyond the Mask. Please subscribe and join us next week for another show.


“His heart really was in the formation of this organization and making sure that nurse anesthetists were recognized for the role they play in the countries in which they work.”

-Sandy Ouellette, former AANA President

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