My determination to pursue a career as a CRNA has been reinforced daily by COVID-19, especially during the first wave, growing up in a disposable hazmat suit in preparation for assisting physicians with intubations. I am thankful for being able to contribute my share to the struggle against COVID-19.
One patient sticks out in my mind because of the profound fear in her eyes as she gasped for air. Spontaneously, without thinking, I reached for her hand and assured her I would be with her every step of the way. My voice's sincerity and conviction surprised me, as courage welled up within me that I previously did not even know existed. I have been strengthened by the privilege of holding a patient's hand during these darkest hours.
During my OB clinical as a nursing student, I shadowed a CRNA giving epidurals to mothers in preparation for cesarean sections. Introduced to various anesthetics and blocks used in diverse clinical situations, I was mesmerized by the subtle art of it all, especially the arrival of a newborn baby and the joy experienced at the sound of the baby's first cry. During my volunteer time at XXXX Children’s Hospital, I was also provided the unique experience of shadowing the Anesthesiologist and Director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery, Dr. XXXX. Dr. XXXX invited me to watch various open-heart repairs on children at distinct stages of development. He called me to the operating table as the induction of anesthesia began and had me place my hand on the baby's chest as the heart rate slowed under anesthesia. As the baby's cries subsided, I was educated on the complex heart conditions that affect infants and how this is related to anesthesia.
In preparation for becoming a CRNA, I have taken on multiple leadership roles, such as implementing music therapy, creating a nurse support group with the unit's Assistant Nurse Manager and the hospital's Chief Nursing Officer, and serving as a Clinical Resource Nurse. Fresh out of nursing school, I was immediately offered a position in the Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Hospital, an ANCC-accredited hospital with one of the top ICUs in Florida. During my employment at Baptist Hospital, I attained my CCRN certification and established additional specialization as a Neuro ICU nurse.
In December 2020, I began an 8-week local travel contract as an RN at the University of Miami Hospital's ICU. I would also go on to be offered a position as a CVICU Nurse at XXXX University Medical Center. My ability to associate and apply prior experience with my exploration outside the workplace provides the best support for my personal and professional growth. I have made a whole-hearted effort to personally explore topics such as the latest bedside technology and most current evidence-based practice by active participation in groups such as the local AACN chapter and monthly subscriptions to the AACN medical journal. By upholding this intellectual curiosity and continuing to place evidence-based practice at the heart of my care, it has contributed to my personal growth and the quality of care I provide to my patients.
The influx of COVID-19 patients into our ICU was overwhelming, especially during the first wave when it was all new and we were scrambling to breathe. The rapid hiring of four hundred travel nurses provided me with the special privileges of orientation and training and the opportunity to exercise my leadership skills in a stressful environment where my cross-cultural competency was enhanced by the intensity of interactions with patients and their families.
It is my duty in this profession to hold my patients at the heart of all I do as an advocate and leader within the healthcare community. I hope to join a Political Action Committee affiliated with the AANA to advocate for higher levels of autonomy for CRNAs within Florida. Additionally, through my shadowing experience with Dr. XXXX and his CRNA, I am inspired to eventually work towards an additional specialization in serving the pediatric population and neonates undergoing cardiovascular surgery for congenital anomalies.
I have also become interested in the search for alternatives to opioids. Ever since I can remember, I have found great strength and healing power in music and have always given a crucial part of myself to music appreciation and therapy. I see this as a lifetime interest and an area that I will continue to focus on – among my other challenges - once I earn a doctoral degree in my field and become a CRNA. With that in mind, I hope to delve into research and its application by integrating music into the perioperative process.