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Longtime CRNA Champion Sen. Gordner Retires


Pennsylvania Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia County, is resigning his Senate seat on Wednesday to become counsel to interim President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland County. Photo File/Mark Pynes
Pennsylvania Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia County, is resigning his Senate seat on Wednesday to become counsel to interim President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland County. 📷 File/Mark Pynes

State Sen. John Gordner, a Republican who has represented parts of northcentral Pennsylvania for the past three decades, will vacate his 27th Senatorial District seat on Nov. 30 to take a new role among the Senate leadership. He announced his decision Monday.


Gordner has been a longtime champion of nurse anesthetists, sponsoring the Senate measure (S.B. 416) that became law (Act 60 of 2021) last legislative session, granting formal title recognition to the state’s CRNAs.


Because of his work—and after more than a decade of legislative advocacy by CRNAs around the state—nurse anesthetists finally got the recognition they deserve. Until then, Pennsylvania had been one of just two states that failed to recognize “certified registered nurse anesthetist” in some form, meaning CRNAs were recognized only as registered nurses.


Besides title recognition, Act 60 also expanded the providers that CRNAs are permitted to work with to include podiatrists, and it clarified regulatory language as it pertains to physician involvement with anesthesia services, formalizing the status quo.


The push to formally recognize CRNAs was a family affair for Gordner.


His mother, Shirley (Kishbaugh) Gordner, was among just three student nurse anesthetists who comprised the first class at Williamsport Hospital and, in 1954, successfully completed examinations for membership in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).


Gordner isn’t leaving the legislature entirely. He will become counsel to interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland County, whose own daughter is a CRNA in another state.


💙On behalf of PANA, we extend a heartfelt thank you to John Gordner for all he did and congratulated him and wish him the best of luck in his new role.

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