The Vanderbilt Department of Anesthesiology embraces the anesthesia care team approach to patient care, involving anesthesiologists and residents, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) and anesthesia technicians. The more than 200 CRNAs at Vanderbilt provide anesthesia for all types of surgical procedures, including cardiac, pediatrics, vascular, trauma, neurosurgery, plastics, radiologic, and special procedures. CRNAs administer general, regional and monitored anesthesia care for scheduled and emergency surgical, obstetric, and diagnostic procedures.
Key job responsibilities of the CRNA include preoperative patient evaluation, management of the patient through completion of the operative procedure, safe transport of the patient to the recovery area and assurance of the appropriate postoperative care. Additionally, CRNAs provide instruction and education for SRNAs. They also support the residency educational mission by providing service coverage to allow residents to attend educational activities and participate in elective rotations. Thus, the CRNAs are essential to many core endeavors. In terms of personnel, the CRNA Division is the largest division within the Department of Anesthesiology.
Vanderbilt is the primary clinical affiliate of the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia (MTSA) in Madison, Tennessee, which is the second largest nurse anesthesia program in the country. Vanderbilt is also a clinical affiliate for students from Emory University and Marian University nurse anesthesia programs. Student nurse anesthetists assist in approximately 7,000 anesthetics per year while on Vanderbilt rotations. SRNA coordinators oversee the orientation, scheduling, and evaluation of SRNAs who spend time at VUMC.
The CRNA Division mirrors the VUMC operating room specialty “pod” organization, and the role of the service specialist within the CRNA structure is to improve communication and education with all pod members and those who are assigned to care in each specialty area.
In addition to SRNA training, the CRNA division has developed a strong program of Continuing Education designed specifically for CRNAs. These programs are overseen by CRNA Education Manager Brad Koss, and they offer a significant opportunity for our professional staff to meet their recertification requirements.
The CRNA Leadership works closely with hospital, departmental, and advanced practice leadership to ensure that world-class health care is always our outcome. Our Advanced Practice Director oversees all of the encounters of advanced practice providers (nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) across the perioperative spectrum from preoperative evaluation to intraoperative care to postoperative enhanced recovery and pain management. A strong CRNA leadership team includes an Associate Chief CRNA as well as six managers in each geographic location.