Ashley Bell, BSN, RN, has always been fascinated by the way patients are put into a state where they are unable to feel and respond to outside stimuli, and then when they awake, they have no recollection of what took place throughout the surgery. That interest in the inner workings of anesthetic treatment has fueled her passion to be a nurse anesthetist. Pursuing that role enables her to continue to advocate for patients and dive even deeper into her interest in anesthetics.
Black History Month offers time for reflection, and Bell says her educational and professional pursuits as an African American student anesthetist at the University of Pennsylvania creates a win-win scenario. One of the challenges she faces is the lack of diversity within her role. It can be overwhelming to be in a work environment that lacks racial diversity. A person can feel like they do not belong within the community, she says. But, as she keeps working to achieve her dreams, she’s changing the dynamic --- and doing her part to ensure people see others of the same background in her profession.
One of the things that has helped Bell navigate these feelings and challenges is her program director, who is also African American. Her program director even inspired her to apply to an Ivy League institution. There’s a real connection, and Bell sees a lot of herself in her program director, who motivates her and helps her see all of the possibilities that are available to her. Bell’s program director motivates her to keep working towards her ultimate goal: Becoming a CRNA and eventually further diversifying the nurse anesthesia profession.
Bell is blessed to have the opportunity to learn from such an amazing role model and hopes to follow in her footsteps, becoming a trailblazer in her profession. When you hear her story, you can tell Bell is already on her way to achieving her dream.
Photos Submitted by Ashley Bell, BSN, RN