I've been thinking of ways in which CRNA's might "gain more respect" from the mainstream medical community (MDA's in particular). The parallel which occured to me was of all things home schooled students. You see initially years ago public school educators loudly decried the inadequacy of home school education (they still do but with considerably less credibility). One thing which has helped to change the "perception" of home schooling are the consistently high performance of home schooled students on such things as spelling
bees, geography competitions, and SAT/ACT scores. It has now reached the point that many Ivy league institutions actively recruit home schooled students.
So I asked myself how might CRNA's go about demonstrating a similar competency? ONE way could be the creation of "games" which test in a competitive environment the contestents ability with regard to ALL aspects of anesthesia. There would be both "practical" and written components to my dream games measuring competencies from patient accessment to life saving trauma management from an anesthesia perspective. The games would be open to ALL anesthesia professionals both CRNA's and MDA's. There would be very substancial cash prizes (say 100K for first prize) but the main reward would be professional pride. Funding could be facilitated via spocers such as Discovery Health (it would make a decent show on that channel) and fees from contestents (which might be paid by employers seeking positive publicity in many cases).
Firefighters, policemen, mechanics, and even barbecue aficionados have such competition, why not anesthesia professionals? If MDA's want to claim such profoundly superior skills and allege that entrusting CRNA's with anesthesia responsibility places patients lives in danger (as they are in some political races across the nation), let them put their skills where their mouths are. Maybe they will be proven correct, but I predict that CRNA's would more than hold their own in such competition.
Oct 27, '02
of MANKIND during the cold war in the form of strategic simulations (indeed we still do although most people don't realize it). All of the professions that I listed which have "competitions" are also serious business (as the recent case in Washington D.C. illustrates this is espcially true of the police). While its true that I list a specific and somewhat factitious purpose for these games (the point of proving equality with MDA's is mostly hyperbole but it is in fact a COMPONENT of MY intentions for the competition). However, without regard to the aforementioned purposes such competition could have a plethora of other positive influences:
I. It would attract attention to an area of practice both for dotors and nurses. By presenting the "best and brightest" in the field it would tend to naturally facilitate an interest among undergraduate students who were both pre-nursing and pre-med.
II. It could provide addtional incentives to hone one's skills to the very highest levels (heck it might even be enough to inspire me to give up my surf board which I intend to be enjoying on my off days if I become a CRNA). In almost EVERY aspect of the human experience that has ever been measured competitive "gaming" has tended to maximize performance. Perhaps that why our military is CONSTANTLY engaging in such "games" as anyone with such a background can attest.
III. In addition such a competition might provide a forum where the latest anesthesia techniques could be presented, and analyized in a spirit of friendly (but intense) competition.
I didn't see in your reply specific criticisms of my proposal. Instead, you seemed to proffer something of a blanket dismissal that bordered on an outright ad hominem attack. Such terse, pejorative statements do indeed effectively disparage ideas, but they do so at the expense of furthering intellectual dialogue. Such tactics are the hallmark of those who prefer sharp rhetoric over logic, and the wit of fallacy to the intellectual rigor of factual analysis. Of course in your case I'm am confident that this was not intended to be the case. Perhaps if you find the idea or my presentation lacking you could offer your opinions as to specifically WHY. Given such feedback perhaps modifications could be made that might serve to ameliorate your concerns. This is a serious proposal which I believe could ultimately result in significant benefits to the profession ultimately contributing to improvements in patient care.
Last edit by Roland on Oct 27, '02
Oct 27, '02
Actually, I have to agree with Tenesma on this one, for a number of reasons.
Right at the top of the list, "Anesthesia Games" sounds silly. Hear me out. We (MDA's and CRNA's) are professionals, who worked their butts off to get where we are. We all have some kind of advanced degrees. You don't see lawyers holding "law games." You don't see psychologists holding "shrink games" (except with thier own patients). The point is, we are not firefighters, policemen, or US Army Rangers. The test is not in some "game" but in how we do our anesthetics day to day.
Second, whether you like it or not, most MDA's and CRNA's would eschew such games. I know I would. I don't have time, I don't have the desire, and I don't see any benefit. There is something of a rift between CRNA's and MDA's right now, though at the level of the trenches, the rift is not NEARLY as deep as the ASA and AANA would have the public beleive it is. Actually, at the level of the trenches, its more of a minor disagreement, with no impact on work or personal relationships at all. In any event, the remedy for this rift is not to have Alec Trebeck host some kind of "Anesthesia Jeopardy." I don't have the answer, but I know this ain't it.
Kevin McHugh, CRNA
Last edit by kmchugh on Oct 27, '02