I have been a nurse for 20 years and a CRNA for 10 years of that 20. Anesthesia is an extension of the nursing I did initially....and I grew up through the ranks...nurses's aide, LVN/LPN, BSN, then anesthesia school. As a nurse's aide I figured if I could handle emptying bedpans and other less than desirable tasks, the rest would be easy in comparison. There is a tendency to dwell on the whole bedpan/excrement/emesis issue. If one is able to offer care to another person and attempt to maintain their dignity, in for what most people is a very humiliating situation, THAT is nursing care.
The best relationships between myself as a CRNA in PACU, OR, ICU, and floor nurses thrive on mutual respect. Professionalism and politeness goes a long way in gaining mutual respect with individuals on both sides. The Primadonna approach to "I need this now!" in less than urgent situations fosters environments of animosity. In my experience, positive interpersonal interactions between RNs in the different areas of the hospital and ambulatory facilities are our (CRNAs) best PR strategies to gain support from other nursing groups.
I've read Watchful Care three times in the last 10 years. It reminds me of where our profession has been, what it is, and where it is going. If you don't know where you've been, it's hard to know where you're going. Whenever I can, I give a brief rundown on nurse anesthesia. There was an article in Dallas magazine about a plastic surgeon and bad outcomes. Read it in the grocery aisle and held up the line a few seconds searching out the surgeon's name. Apologized, stating I did anesthesia in Dallas for some plastic surgeons and wanted to know if I recognized the individual. Opened a discussion with the grocery checker and the person in line behind me about nurse anesthesia. "I'm a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, I administer anesthesia in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Actually, nurses have been administering anesthesia for over 100 years since the doctors were more interested in the surgical procedure....etc. Yes, I assess the patient before surgery, administer the anesthesia, monitor the patient during the procedure, wake them up ensuring they will be comfortable and transfer care of the patient to the PACU nurse." (I had a lot of groceries and time to chat. Ended up buying the magazine due to guilt from holding up the line a few seconds)
EVERY CHANCE I GET I talk about nurse anesthesia and our history, what we do, what we are responsible for, what is our education, what we do on a daily basis.....
The OR is a teamwork environment....we all do (CRNA, surgeon, OR nurse, scrub tech) what needs to be done to get the patient taken care of. Circulator's out of the room, I open suture for the surgeon, plug in the suction, adjust lights; the circulator brings me the next bag of IV fluid when it's running low without my having to ask, will get drugs from pharmacy when asked without disgruntlement (for lack of better descriptor). Succinctly: I help you, you help me, the patient is taken care of, on to the next case.
Bottom line: Do unto others as they would do unto you. Honor those you work with by respecting their expertise, they will, in turn respect the expertise you have in your specialty.