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  • Laura L. Wiggins, DNP, CRNA

PANA PRESIDENT: Enhanced Leadership, Increased Engagement, Mentorship Key to Growing Profession


Lt. Col. (R), U.S. Air Force

It is a pleasure and honor to be assuming the role of President of the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists (PANA). I am looking forward to serving the membership in the upcoming year. There certainly is no shortage of work to do.

Our Government Relations Team and Government Relations Director, Jessica Poole, are confronting several issues in Harrisburg. I attended a meeting there Oct. 27 with the Department of State and the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs on behalf of PANA and our members. During this meeting, they discussed the antiquated PALS system and license renewals within the state of Pennsylvania. PANA is trying to determine how our new title designation will be processed through this system, or any other system the state develops. We learned several things at this meeting, but the most important thing is not to delay renewing any licenses. Get them done as soon as you receive notification because there will be obvious growing pains in activating a new system and removing the old PALS system.

As your new PANA President, I am setting the following goals for our association:

  • Enhance the leadership of the board of directors;

  • Increase member engagement; and

  • Mentor our future leaders

I think as CRNAs we are experts at patient care and clinical competence. I feel that we are sometimes lacking in the leadership realm. I hope to improve on this within our board by encouraging participation in the AANA Leadership Summit and offering other leadership training throughout the year. Advocacy continues to be one of our main priorities, especially during an election year. We need to be out in front, meeting with our legislators and forming long-lasting relationships with legislative aides, legislators and lobbyists to solidify our position on various health-care issues that will present themselves within the coming year. Leadership in this area is a priority and necessity. We are fully expecting legislation to be re-introduced in the next session, which begins in January 2023, to license anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) for the first time in Pennsylvania. The connections and relationships we form now with lawmakers will be extremely important in helping us maintain our position and will help us with gains in propelling the profession forward.

I also hope to increase member engagement by communicating with members directly on issues that affect our profession. PANA’s Communications Director, Sarah Trau, will help facilitate this huge undertaking. She will be working with the team at Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy to make sure our members are in the know and kept informed. My hope is that as we increase engagement, more members will participate in district events and other educational activities and political action committee (PAC) events.

Finally, mentoring our future leaders is extremely important in ensuring the ongoing success and trajectory of the profession. Please encourage student involvement at every level of participation! I am motivated and encouraged by the excitement and enthusiasm of the SRNAs we have on the PANA board. Hopefully, their enthusiasm is contagious and will be felt by all of the members in the coming months.

I remain committed to helping this profession succeed in this time of uncertainty. With change there is always room for opportunity. Advancing our profession is worth the fight. If you have any ideas or suggestions for upcoming PANA events or want to know how to contact your legislators, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am looking forward to working with all of you and serving this association.


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