Ep 89: CRNA Advocacy and GRC Efforts with Debbie Barber, DNP, CRNA

Gaining a seat at the table is something our profession is working diligently to achieve so CRNAs can advocate for everyone on a local, state, or federal level. This year has served as a reminder that we need to continue fighting to eliminate barriers and moving forward. Debbie Barber, DNP, CRNA, is the former Chair of the AANA Government Relations Committee and dedicates much of her professional life to pushing for advocacy and increasing awareness among young CRNAs. Today she’s joins us to talk about those efforts along with all of the resources that the AANA has available to members.

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

On This Episode:

The CRNA profession has taken some large steps forward through the years, as we try our best to document, but there’s always more work to do.

It’s always been a priority for Sharon and this podcast to push for advocacy and help fellow CRNAs understand why it’s so important. On this episode, we asked Debbie Barber, DNP, CRNA, to join us and help provide her perspective on the topic. As a CRNA for nearly 30 years, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the show and can better explain the resources available to keep you abreast of new laws, procedures, and regulations. 

The Government Relations Committee of the AANA is the first place to start. As the former Chair of the GRC, Dr. Barber help provide the assistance to members and knows how valuable that committee can be. They have a wealth of information on hand for both federal and state guidelines that you can access. You have the option to do it on your own or you can contact the AANA and they’ll assist you in tracking down what you need.

That includes the CMS guidelines, which have become a major topic in 2020. The ability to perform your job without supervision is only a temporary measure as we deal with the pandemic, but the work being done right now by CRNAs really pushes the argument forward that these measures should become permanent.

The supervision regulatory barriers are one of the biggest obstacles facing CRNAs right now, which is why the temporary CMS guidelines are very important. Even if you are able to get a federal removal, often times your state will have an additional barrier to get over before you can practice independently. But there are other barriers facing our peers right now and Dr. Barber will take us through those.

Here are some of the other topics we will cover on the show:

  • Why it’s important for CRNAs to understand legalities.
  • The vast amount of state and federal resources offered by the AANA.
  • Can the current CMS guidelines become permanent?
  • Why it’s so important for students to be involved.
  • The biggest barriers for CRNAs right now.
  • Why CRNAs need to run for office.

We really appreciate Dr. Barber for taking the time to join us as we continue to work virtually in many ways because this is such a vital area for growth and development across our profession.

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.

[2:48] – Welcome Debbie Barber, DNP, CRNA

[3:53] – Some background on Barber

[6:38] – The importance of understanding CRNA practice.

[8:47] – The resources offered up by the AANA

[11:17] – Should the temporary CMS guidelines become permanent?

[15:53] – The standard of care is the same

[17:14] – State resources available from the AANA.

[21:37] – Should students be involved in advocacy?

[26:58] – The barriers facing CRNAs.

[30:41] – CRNAs need to become the administrator rather than relying on someone else.

[34:16] – Running for office could become a great retirement job.

[37:44] – What other career would you have chosen if not CRNA?

[38:57] – Final thoughts from our guest today.


“We were successful in finding a good CEO, I believe. So far he’s proven to be a good choice.”

-Cheryl Nimmo, DNP, MSHSA, CRNA

Share this episode with a friend: