Ep 61: NCANA History with Cathy Briggs, CRNA

Cathy Briggs

The state of North Carolina is fortunate enough to have Cathy Briggs, CRNA, documenting the history of the organization as well as the profession for the NCANA. She joins us today to look back on the lessons learned through the years, the important legal battles, and the people who have influenced the most.

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

On This Episode:

Much of our focus for the historical episodes of our podcast has been on the national level of our industry but we wanted to bring it to a local level for this episode.

Today we wanted to focus on the North Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists. As you might know, Sharon has many years of experience with the NCANA. She served as president of the organization in 2001-02 and has been heavily involved in legislation in the state so she knows quite a bit about the group’s history.

But not as much as our guest today, Cathy Briggs, CRNA. She serves as the history chair for the NCANA and has a passion for researching and documenting the organization. In 2019, she was given a lifetime achievement award for her work, which was well-deserved.

We brought her on to learn more about the evolution of the NCANA and the challenges faced along the way. There’s a lot we wanted to discuss with Cathy and we covered a number of topics during the show. A few of the things we asked her about included:

  • The lessons we can learn from the past.
  • The legal challenges the NCANA has faced.
  • The growth of the organization and the push to raise awareness.
  • Who has played a key role in helping this organization advance?
  • How we can get the younger generation involved in their local associations?

As you’ll see in this episode and all of our historical series shows, it’s so important for us to celebrate and learn from the CRNAs that came before us. We’re so fortunate to enjoy a strong profession that affords us many benefits and it’s thanks in part to groups like the NCANA and the people that put in countless hours serving their peers.

Thanks to Cathy for coming on the podcast and thank you for listening.

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

1:33 – We’re recording at the NCANA meeting in Wilmington.

2:16 – Today we’re joined by Cathy Briggs, historian for NCANA.  

2:38 – How did you get involved in this role?

3:49 – Kathy being given the lifetime achievement award from the NCANA.

4:24 – What are some of the important things in our history that we can learn from?

6:21 – 50% of all CRNAs are going to retire in the next 10 years.

6:50 – How strong is the NCANA?

7:33 – Looking back on some of the legal battles North Carolina has faced.

9:11 – North Carolina has used strong advertising efforts to create awareness for the industry.

11:37 – Who has influenced the history of the NCANA the most?

12:48 – Cathy is seeing a trend that current students aren’t as aware of the association as past generations.

15:18 – Has there been much collaboration between other advanced nursing professionals?

16:22 – What can we do to encourage SRNAs?

21:16 – Tell us more about what’s happening with legislation.  

22:42 – Some history on when the NCANA was formed.

24:44 – What would Cathy be doing if she wasn’t a CRNA?

26:14 – Final message from Cathy on staying involved.  

29:09 – Cathy recalls a message she heard years ago that sticks with her today.


“You have to know the battles that have been fought to get you where you are today. And you have to have learned from those battles so that you don’t repeat those same mistakes.”

-Cathy Briggs, CRNA, Historian for NCANA







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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.