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Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing|College of Health Sciences

Nursing Careers:
Nurse Anesthetist


Bethany Parker, MSNA
1st Lieutenant in the Army Reserves

Graduated 2007 from UWYO online RN/BSN Completion Program
Graduated 2011 from MSNA (Masters of Science in Nurse Anesthesia) Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT

What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

From the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists web site: "The miracle of anesthesia made pain-free surgery a reality. Nurse anesthetists, the first healthcare providers dedicated to the specialty of anesthesia, have their roots in the 1800's, when nurses first gave anesthesia to wounded soldiers on the battlefields of the Civil War. Today, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are master’s prepared advanced practice nurses who enjoy a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. CRNAs provide anesthetics to patients in every practice setting, and for every type of surgery or procedure. They are the sole anesthesia providers in nearly all rural hospitals, and the main provider of anesthesia to the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces."

What drew you to the career of Nurse Anesthesia?

I wanted to be a nurse anesthetist from the beginning.

How did you prepare for it?

Getting a BSN from UW was an important and necessary step in my nursing career. I also worked as an ICU and flight nurse to gain valuable experience in order to qualify for admittance to anesthesia school.

What do you like the most about this career?

Being a critical thinker is key, and I love giving excellent and safe care. Being an advanced practice nurse is an amazing job - it is well worth the effort.

What are the biggest challenges?

Keeping in-check emotionally. Also, staying current on ever-evolving practice. I like being able to function quickly and effectively in a high-stress environment.

What advice would you have for a student interested in this field?

Work hard and be passionate about nursing. Always advocate for your profession.

Bethany Parker Update 2012:

I just graduated in December 2011 and am working in South Carolina. I will soon attend Officer Basic Training as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Reserves.

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Bethany Parker

Bethany Parker, 1st Lieutenant, Army Reserves
"Getting a BSN from UW was an important and necessary step in my nursing career. I also worked as an ICU and flight nurse to gain valuable experience in order to qualify for admittance to anesthesia school."

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