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  • Matt McCoy, DNP, CRNA

CRNA Week Takes on New Meaning Amid COVID

It’s safe to say our 2021 National CRNA Week commemoration really is like no other before it. Because of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, all of us have had to confront personal and professional challenges we never thought we’d have to face.

Even now, more than 10 months after this health-care crisis began, response and recovery efforts continue.

But one thing is certain in these uncertain times: I’ve never been prouder to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) than I am today, and I’ve never been more honored to stand by your side as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists (PANA).

In the most ordinary situations, surgery and anesthesia can be intimidating or frightening. CRNAs provide families comfort and reassurance by never leaving their loved one’s side. When this pandemic separated families in crisis, our promise to be there for every heartbeat, every breath took on a whole new meaning.

Because of our advanced education and hands-on training, CRNAs are uniquely qualified to care for critically ill patients who are suffering because of this respiratory pandemic. Many CRNAs have been serving as frontline health-care workers, fulfilling critical roles inside and outside the operating room during this crisis.

In May, when the state granted a temporary waiver to suspend the CRNA supervision requirement, healthcare facilities jumped at the chance to tap into nurse anesthetists’ unique skillset --- and we rose up to meet the challenge.

By allowing CRNAs to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training, not only are more people familiar with what we do, but our work during this crisis has availed more physicians to provide hands-on care, expanded the capacity of both CRNA and physician providers, and augmented the state’s health-care system to continue to meet the growing demands of this pandemic. Our work affects lives.

This crisis still requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. Our health-care systems are still challenged to function above capacity. As long as response and recovery efforts continue, CRNAs will remain a critical part of the solution as “Experts You Trust. Care You Count On,” our theme this week.

On behalf of PANA, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every CRNA and student who has stepped up during these difficult times to represent our profession so honorably and serve patients and families so faithfully. If ever there was a time to commemorate what we do, then 2021 National CRNA Week is the time to do it.

Please be safe. And again, thank you for all you do.

Matt McCoy, DNP, CRNA


Pennsylvania Assn of Nurse Anesthetists


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