2017 – A Year In Review

It’s amazing how quickly time flies by. I could have sworn I just recently posted my professional objectives for 2017 a couple of months ago, but alas my concept of time appears to get more and more distorted as I get older. This is something I like to do for myself because (1) I’m a nerd and have nothing better to do with my time especially when I’m on OB and it’s quiet as hell during my shift and (2) I like setting professional goals for myself because it keeps me engaged with what I’m doing.

I find that it’s real easy to become stagnant in our field. We spent all this time and energy to be socialized to do what? Put patients to sleep and then wake them up. That’s it. They either get tubed or sedated. It’s that easy…and that boring! I say that in a half facetious manner because obviously, it’s a lot more complicated than that. But at the end of the day, we’re paid to do only one of two things. Tube or sedate. If there are other issues involved (i.e., severe comorbidities), then maybe not give so much anesthetic. I know. I know. My rationale is extremely reductive and I apologize to anyone who is offended at the notion that anesthesia is cookie cutter because it’s not…until it is. Maybe not.

Regardless, my point is providing anesthesia can feel monotonous and if an individual isn’t mindful of his/her professional goals, this person is at risk for burnout. In our line of work, we are prone to all kinds of negative stressors. I, myself, struggle with this from time to time. On the one hand, I’m still recovering from my experience in nurse anesthesia school. The chronic, unrelenting stress of having to be on my “A” game, having to approach each day as though it were a job interview because anything short of that was seen as a failure, and the perpetual abuse I (and scores of other SRNAs) had to endure during my clinical rotation definitely did a number of me. Couple all of that with the fact that anesthesia can sometimes feel monotonous, it sometimes feels like you’re facing an uphill battle. A battle that you realize is going to be the next 20 years of your life.

So, now that I got that negativity out of my system, that’s why I like to take a regimented approach to my career. I’m focused on becoming financially independent in order to retire early, but since this is a 10-15 year goal of mine, I might as well try to maximize my experience as a CRNA rather than be that curmudgeonly provider who hates my job and is furiously saving money for no actual reason other than to escape the misery of working. Who the hell wants to live like that?

2017 Objectives

  • Managing orientation website and finding ways to streamline orientation experience for new grad CRNAs, staff, and SRNAs
  • Precept new-hire CRNAs, SRNAs, paramedics and providing RNs with shadowing opportunities
  • Seeking out opportunities to develop clinical skills (e.g., regional blocks and epidurals)
  • Developing an eBook orientation manual for staff to use for site-specific information
  • Finding opportunities to teach courses/classes to nurses (e.g., airway management)
  • Publish 2 articles in a journal
  • Continue work on LifeAsACRNA
  • Continue collaboration with anesthesiologist with development of surgeon preference list at each clinical site; develop eBook of preferences for smartphone access

I’m happy to say that I completed most of the objectives I set out for myself a CRNA. In fact, I added a few more objectives to my list over the course of the year. They include:

  • Became a program lecturer at a major nurse anesthesia program
  • Expanded my services in private practice to include 4 additional surgery centers (making the total to 10 sites I rotate to outside of my work at the academic medical center)
  • Joined a scheduling committee of 3 at the academic medical center I’m employed at
  • Participated in a career panel for undergraduates to expose them to “alternative” health careers
  • Collaborated in an NBCRNA study centered on the various ways the board recertification exam will be deployed

Not a bad year from a professional perspective. Productive, right? Maybe too productive? Do I sleep? Do I even have a life??? It’s amazing the things you can do when IM ephedrine/epinephrine are available. 😉

I will say that in the coming months, my activities in nurse anesthesia may take a bit of a backseat as my wife and I will be tackling a whole new frontier together: property management. We just purchased a duplex and will be trying out the landlord game for a few years to see if it’s something that fits our goals. My future posts will center around managing an investment property along with whatever random topics that may come to mind as I continue my career as a CRNA within the academic and private practice world. After all, this is what life can be like as a CRNA. A slow, cumulative path towards an early retirement…I hope.

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