Ep #35: The Relevance of Nurse Anesthesia in Evolution of the Profession

There’s some concern in educational circles that the history of nurse anesthesia has lost importance during the evolution of the profession. We want to dive into that topic today and explore the history, accomplishments, and milestones with two experts on the subject. Sandra Ouellette and Evan Koch will provide historical insight and some wonderful information on this episode.

On This Episode:

Remembering where we came from always helps keep us grounded and allows us to evolve. Having that understanding and knowledge benefits us collectively and as individuals.

In the CRNA profession, some educators worry that the history of nurse anesthesia is slowing fading away. It was taken out of the curriculum years ago, and although it’s being integrated back in for certain areas, there’s still not enough recognition for how the industry evolved over the years.

As part of our ongoing historical series, Beyond the Mask invited Sandra Ouellette and Evan Koch onto the show to have a lengthy discussion about this very topic. Both of these individuals have dedicated their life to this industry and carry so much valuable information. That led to a wonderful discussion about people, places, and moments that meant so much to the development of nurse anesthesia.

You’ll see below in the timestamps that we covered a lot of ground during the conversation but we feel you’ll find it all very valuable. Check it out at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate to the many topics we discussed throughout this episode.

1:38 – Introducing Sandra Ouellette, one of our guests today.

3:50 – A little background on Ouellette’s career and recent honor.

5:16 – Introducing our second guest Evan Koch and his background.

6:16 – Our main topic today: relevance of nurse anesthesia history in evolution of profession.

6:46 – What are some of the common themes found throughout history?

9:05 – Surgeons can be a CRNA’s greatest asset.

9:26 – Surgeon Evarts Graham’s impact on the history of the industry.

11:18 – Humbug in anesthesia at the outset of discovery.

12:47 – Ouellette on some of the history that’s been edited through the years.

14:01 – Where you can find a lot of great information on anesthesia history.

14:47 – The role that educators have played in our history.

15:54 – Helen Lamb’s impact.

17:00 – Educators have faced various threats and obstacles through the years.

19:30 – Contributions that CRNA’s have made on anesthesia.

22:19 – Has the discussion of professional identity been around for a while? The debate surrounding the title Nurse Anesthesiologist.

28:23 – It’s important to know and understand the history of nurse anesthesia.

30:51 – What’s the difference between DNPs vs PhD?

34:38 – When did history get taken out of the nurse anesthesia curriculum?

39:17 – History of the CRNA journal and other achievements.

42:13 – Closing thoughts from both guests.





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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.