Profession
  • Book Author on Social Media, Gummies, ‘Imposter Syndrome,’ and ‘Showing Up for CRNAs’

    We recently sat down with author and inventor Crystal A. Grant, MSN, CRNA, APRN, who’s chronicled her career path in books she wishes she’d had as a kid.


    How did your CRNA journey start and is that what prompted your children’s books?

    Crystal:  I actually didn’t know anything about the CRNA profession until I was in nursing school.  There was this small blurb in my Nursing 101 book about the profession and I was immediately drawn to it—but it was almost like I never heard of it again.  It was like this hidden treasure.  So, I finished nursing, started in the ICU, and then traveled for about six years before applying to CRNA school and finally being accepted.  I wrote my first book, “Acceptance Granted, One Woman’s Journey to Becoming A CRNA,” to tell my story and to give tips and pointers and frequently asked questions about the profession.

    That book all started because I began speaking about the profession on social media and I was getting so much feedback and so many questions.  At first was just going to be a PDF file but then it turned into a book as I shared my entire story with them.

    Crystal Grant Book, The Super CRNACRNAs work in operating rooms where we’re kind of hidden.  So, what better way to highlight the profession than to talk about and teach about it.  The second book was intended to reach an even younger age, so you’re not in nursing school before you even hear about the career.  I wanted first and second graders to know about it.  That’s why I wrote the “Super CRNA” series.  Then I wrote “A Christmas Emergency,” another part of the series in which Santa kind of hurts himself and the super CRNA comes to Santa’s rescue.  I want to get the message out to as many young people as possible about this profession.

    Were you always interested in creative writing? 

    Crystal:  Yes, I’ve always loved writing.  I remember being about 10 or 11 and typing out an entire story over the summer break and telling my mother I want to be a children’s author.  Of course, life goes on and I veered away from writing, but I’ve always journaled, I’ve always written short stories, but I’ve never published anything until my first book.  “Acceptance Granted” was so big for me because it was my first birth of a baby, if you will.  And I had such a positive response from my Instagram followers.  I sold 600 copies in one day on Amazon.

    Were you encouraged in your academic pursuits as a child?

    Crystal:  My mother always promoted higher education for me—especially as the youngest and the only girl.  Pursing your goals and education were huge.  Unfortunately, my mother passed away during my junior year of nursing school followed by my father a few years later, both from cancer.  Both my mother and my older brother Ty were LPN nurses. Ty encouraged me to go back for my CRNA because he knew that I had fallen in love with hearing about the profession when I was in nursing school.  The week I applied to CRNA school, he was killed in a motorcycle accident one week after his 40th birthday.  He is the main character in my “Super CNRA” series as he was integral to that push that I needed.  I also dedicated “Acceptance Granted” to the memory of him, my mother and father, and my grandmother.

    Do you tend to be an introvert or an extrovert?

    Crystal:  I perceive myself to be mostly introverted, however, I just want to bridge into this:  a lot of my introvertness came from imposter syndrome for many years.  I’m still introverted, but I can be extroverted in certain circumstances.  I’ve started coaching other nurses who were just like I was 10 years ago.  The Crystal of 10 years ago would not have even done this interview.  I would have said, no way, nobody wants to hear what I have to say.  I had a lot of self-doubt.  I coach now on getting over imposter syndrome and showing up because you are so much more than you know that you are.

    The more research I’ve done on imposter syndrome, it doesn’t hit the person who is fine with the way things are.  Imposter syndrome hits high-achievers and it actually affects African-American women significantly.  And so, that’s me.  Even though I had a very good upbringing and education was key, there were still some [residual] pieces of my childhood, whether it be from society or television or the educational system.  Your parents try to do the best they can, but there’s something subconsciously that leaks in.

    Did you find a support system as you were coming up through CRNA programs?  Is there more the profession can do to better serve its students?

    Crystal:  To be honest, I don’t feel at the time I went to school in 2010 there was a support system.  I know Diversity CRNA was just kind of becoming with Dr. Lena Gould.  I did know her at that time, but there wasn’t nearly as much support as there is now.  Now, there are so many of us on social media who are showing up for nurses, for SRNAs, for other CRNAs, and just 5 years ago it wasn’t even a thing.  We are developing our coaching programs and support systems and educational programs to bridge that gap where there has been that lack for those aspiring to become CRNAs.

    The majority of CRNAs not only love the profession but most of us are very nice and want to give back.  For many years it’s been financial, PAC donations, things like that, which are very important.  But now there’s also this whole social media which everybody is on—every high schooler, every college person.  Now can we show up for the profession to bring [awareness to] more people—even lay people who are having surgery and have no clue that it’s a CRNA who is more than likely going to be delivering their anesthesia.  What better tool to use than social media to educate and inspire and motivate others about the career?

    How has the pandemic impacted you personally and in your practice and how do you think it’s affected the profession?

    Crystal:  I was furloughed for 11 weeks when the pandemic first hit because I was working at an ambulatory surgical center that did all elective ophthalmology cases.  During that time, I went back to the drawing board because, in my 18 years, at that time, of working as a nurse, I had never foreseen ever being laid off.  I ended up moving to North Carolina to pursue another CRNA job and that’s when I also started a vitamin company with a line of products called Superscript Wellness.  I created four different gummies that are now being sold on Walmart.com.  The pandemic restructured my thinking of how to use my education.  As CRNAs, we are higher-level prepared nurses with science and nursing degrees and so I used my knowledge and background in science to create this vitamin line.  It allowed me to remember I had to take care of myself because COVID doesn’t discriminate.  It really opened my eyes to making sure I did more self-care and to really utilize my CRNA resources and my science knowledge to educate others and to show up more whole, authentic, and healthy.

    What’s the nature of that line of vitamins and supplements and what was the unmet need that you saw?

    Crystal Grant gummiesCrystal:  I actually went that route because I got COVID and I was able to nurse myself to health, thankfully, in the comfort of my home.  But it was very scary.  I thought, as a nurse, I would love to help others keep as healthy as possible in these times.  I created the line called Superscript Wellness because I saw that, during COVID, Vitamin C, Elderberry, Zinc were key ingredients being promoted and used for immune support.  Does it cure COVID? No; but, you know, let’s keep our immune systems up during this pandemic the best way we can.

    I reached out to different manufacturers in the United States, and I told them what I was looking for in a gummy because I wanted them to all be gummies.  Like, as a nurse, let’s be honest, who likes taking pills?  My first gummy was the immune support gummy and although there are other immune support gummies out there, I will say mine actually taste really good.  It sold out almost immediately.  Then I came out with three other products—a multi-vitamin for adults, a multi-vitamin for kids, and a hair, skin and nail gummy.

    I just feel like, again, going back to being an African-American woman and business entrepreneur and CRNA and author and all of the things that I am, you know, why not?  I’d never seen [a supplement] created by a nurse anesthetist and so why is that?  We have a medical background, we have these science degrees, why aren’t we going and creating and working with manufacturers to create a great product?  Walmart was looking for entrepreneurs, I submitted my application to them, and they partnered with us.  So, on December 1st, we started on Walmart.com.  My hope and dream now is to get them into actual Walmart stores.

    What do you think makes CRNAs so entrepreneurial?

    Crystal:  I would say probably a good 40% of the CRNAs I’ve encountered have an entrepreneurial spirit.  The thing about being an entrepreneur is that you see a problem, or you see where there’s a lack and you want to fix that hole.  I think as CRNAs, we’re fixers a lot of times.  We don’t like to see stuff that has missing pieces or we just kind of think outside of the box and I think that’s the beautiful thing about us as individuals.

     I want nurse anesthetists to be known.  There’s no better way to make it be known than to be the one to be doing it, you know, making it known.  Whether it’s by books or being on the virtual shelves at Walmart.com or by coaching or being on social media, I want the profession to be known.

    Crystal, who is eager and available to speak especially to youth and career and educational groups about the CRNA profession, can be reached via Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.