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  • Aaron Ostrowski

Are you a CARVED CRNA?

If you have attended a business meeting or heard me speak on some occasion since 2012, you probably have heard the question: Are you a CARVED CRNA? CARVED is an acronym I use to describe the consummate, professional CRNA. It goes beyond the characteristics that describe the Pennsylvania CRNA who delivers expert anesthesia care on a daily basis to our commonwealth’s patients. At the end of the day, you drive to a home in a car to a life that you would not have achieved without the opportunities availed to you by the professional activism outlined in this message. You may think of this as a checklist to determine if you are doing your part for the profession.

C is for Communicate: We communicate with each other and operating room professionals to exchange information about anesthesia techniques, employment opportunities, and family life. The CARVED CRNA turns the conversation outward to meet with hospital administrators, legislators, and the community to describe who we are and what we do. Communication fosters relationships that pay dividends when important decisions are made in the boardrooms and voting chambers across the state.

A is for Attend: We all need to attend in-services and meetings to maintain our certifications. Meetings at vacation locations are appealing, but those meetings will not give you specific information about state and national professional issues. The CARVED CRNA attends professional meetings such as the AANA Midyear Assembly and Leadership Academy, the PANA Spring or Fall Symposia and PANA’s Lobby Day. Can you consider alternating your meeting years to attend a quality, substantive, state meeting on even years and vacation meetings on odd years? The “meatier” meetings grant Continuing Education credits, and they equip you to reach out to those beyond the operating room.

R is for Read: Most CRNAs are familiar with reading. We all had to do it to get through training. It can’t stop there! The CARVED CRNA goes deeper to get familiar with practice issues and policy in your facility and on the state and national levels. Reading the newsletter, e-mails from AANA and PANA, and related social media posts give you information on current professional events.

V is for Vote: Hopefully, many CRNAs vote in the U.S. presidential elections. The CARVED CRNA votes in AANA’s and PANA’s annual elections, too. Unlike the U.S. voting system, AANA and PANA do not have an Electoral College. EVERY vote counts! PANA pledges to have full ballots with competitive candidates for each officer and trustee position.

E is for Educate: Many CRNAs educate SRNAs in the operating room. The CARVED CRNA, prepared with readings and information from attending quality professional meetings, will be able to educate others about our practice. State policies pertinent to CRNA practice in Pennsylvania that you can find on the web through any search engine include: “PA Code Chapter 21,” “PA Code Chapter 123,” and “PA Code Chapter 555.” PA Code Chapter 21 describes our scope of practice, and is part of the State Board of Nursing Regulations. PA Code Chapter 123 is part of the Department of Health’s hospital regulations that describes CRNA practice in our state’s hospitals. PA Code Chapter 555 describes practice in our state’s surgicenters. These are great places to start educating yourself.

Finally, D is for Donate: Most CRNAs probably donate to charity. In addition to charity, the CARVED CRNA donates to PANA and AANA political action committees, or PACs. Relationships are important in politics, but money helps to support the election of candidates who share our issues, and PACs are the way to achieve that. If each of Pennsylvania’s CRNAs donated $10 per month to PANA-PAC through an automatic monthly payment, we would be doing our part to empower PANA to influence legislative activity in Harrisburg.

In the coming months, there will be more information from PANA to participate in ballot nominations, to visit your legislator in your local legislative district, and to vote in the annual PANA elections. The new year promises to deliver new and exciting challenges and opportunities for our profession. Can you resolve to get involved? PANA is prepared to help you become the consummate professional, the CARVED CRNA.

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