This basically SAYS IT ALL. An absolute inspiration to our profession! #CRNAStrong
"My name is Susan M. Perry, PhD, CRNA, APRN, Colonel, USAF, NC retired. I served in the United States Military as an active duty officer for 25 years, retiring in December of 2014. For 16 of those years, I was a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. For 8 of those years I served at the Uniformed Services University educating and training CRNAs for the Department of Defense. My position at retirement was Senior Air Force Faculty at the Daniel K. Inoyue Graduate School of Nursing. I also served as Consultant to the AF Surgeon General for CRNA Education. Now I am the Senior Assistant Dean for Clinical Graduate Studies at the University of South Florida.
During my active duty time I was deployed 4 times. During all but one of those deployments I was the ONLY anesthesia provider at the deployed location. In fact, one of those times I was substituted for an anesthesiologist who obtained a "waiver" not to be deployed. Not one of those times did anyone question that I was able to administer anesthesia without supervision. I was deployed to Saudi Arabia to care for the entire Prince Sultan Airbase contingency operation. I was deployed to Qatar and performed independent anesthesia on the first wave of our OIF casualties, including our service dogs. I was deployed to Honduras in support of our special forces/humanitarian missions and was the anesthesia provider who developed the rotary wing aircraft surgical services contingency plan. I had all of our anesthesia training lectures translated for their school and led seminars on pediatric anesthesia for the anesthesia staff in the Honduran hospitals. There was NO other anesthesia provider there at any time. I was deployed to Peru as the operations commander.
The men and women I saved, thousands of miles from home, now come to the VA for care. Who should be there to take care of them? The civilian anesthesiologist who were sleeping at home while I improvised a way to do surgery in a sand storm with no electricity? While I figured out how to administer anesthesia to a child when there was no oxygen for recovery? When I was stationed in Bitburg Germany with the closest anesthesiologist in England, and I raced in a snow storm to put in an IV and save a mother who was hemorrhaging and losing her baby, allowing both to survive? I don't think so, I think CRNAs have been the anesthesia provider for over a 100 years and the anesthesiologist that have “supervised” the CRNAs have walked in, given breaks and in the cases of the one place I was deployed with an anesthesiologist? During the night that we had 3 special forces troops come in for surgery with gunshot injuries to the head and neck and we worked all through the night. The anesthesiologist called me in from my rest period to do anesthesia for the most severely wounded while she slept in the middle of the tent. I finally woke her up to take over at the end the case so I could get some sleep because I was coming on duty in 3 hours. To not allow CRNAs and other APRNS to practice independently is discrimination, pure and simple and should not be allowed in the United States of America and certainly not in the VA.
Susan M. Perry, PhD, CRNA, ARNP, Colonel, USAF, NC retired
Senior Assistant Dean Clinical Graduate Programs/Director CRNA Program
University of South Florida College of Nursing"