Skip to main content

Iredell Health System celebrates National CRNA Week

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Iredell Memorial Hospital’s certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) will join their colleagues in celebrating National CRNA Week taking place January 20-26.

CRNAs are advanced practice nurses who specialize in administering anesthesia for medical procedures.

CRNAs nationwide educate the public about the role CRNAs play in providing effective anesthesia care, anesthesia safety, and the benefits of receiving anesthesia care from a nurse anesthetist.

Iredell Memorial CRNAs provide one-on-one care, staying with their patients throughout their procedures to administer anesthesia and monitor vital signs.

“Each patient has our undivided attention,” said James Cowan, a CRNA with Iredell Memorial.

While this year marks the 20th annual CRNA Week since being established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, CRNAs have provided Americans with anesthesia since administering it to wounded soldiers during the Civil War. CRNAs now administer more than 45 million anesthetics in the U.S. each year.

“Our anesthetists and Operating Room staff work together in a tough work environment, sometimes as much as if in a battlefield situation,” Cowan said. “The wellbeing of our patients and cohorts is our first priority.”

Iredell Memorial provides anesthesia for more than 9,000 patients a year. It employs 14 full-time, three part-time, and multiple freelance CRNAs to meet its ever-changing and growing needs. They administer anesthesia in the hospital’s Operating Room Suite, Birthplace, Endoscopy Center, Cardiac Cath Lab, Critical Care, and Radiology Department.

“As anesthetists, we always have multiple contingency plans for every patient,” Cowan said. “We train and prepare for unexpected circumstances so we can handle them with confidence and determination.”

“We’re grateful to have such skilled CRNAs at the hospital and thank them for their selfless efforts,” said Toni Fortner, Iredell Memorial’s director of nurse anesthesia services.

Pictured from left to right: Cassandra Santus, Kris Earle, Sarah Pagano, Ken Sauser, Jennifer Kinser, Stacey Schlesinger, Autumn Mahaffey, Ron Butler, Winnie Tuck, Lorraine Angel and Toni Fortner. Not Pictured: Lee Thomas, Dawn Cozart, James Cowan, Kim Hottle, Katie Long, Jonathan Graham, Christy Halbedel, Anna Brower, Karen Courts, Kim Tribo, David Hensley, Meredith Draper and Bobbie Williams.