• Nurse Anesthesiology is Advocacy

    By Kris Rohde, CRNA

    My first exposure to what CRNA advocacy can do was when I was a senior anesthesia student attending AANA Mid-Year Assembly. I went to Capitol Hill and sat in on meetings with our federal legislators. The CRNAs were known in each office, and they were respected. It was very clear that the CRNAs in Nebraska had been advocating for our practice, attending fundraisers for the legislators, and getting to know them for years. It was obvious to me that these relationships were not built only during the short time we were in Washington. 

     Since then, I have tried to advocate for our profession even more. I am in constant contact with legislators in Nebraska and Washington, D.C. I am always telling our story, explaining what we do, building relationships that we had already established and creating new ones with anyone who is recently elected or hired for that legislator’s office. Because of our efforts, the senators and representatives know how important CRNAs are to the state of Nebraska. We are the reason people in rural Nebraska have access to care, and our legislators know it.  

    A few years ago, U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska was given an award by AANA for his service and support of CRNAs. Each Mid-Year Assembly, our meeting with him is always one of the top events of the week. This is just one example of how, while we CRNAs are working back home, the AANA D.C. office is out there doing the work in Washington. They do what we cannot the rest of the year. It is so important that they stay involved and are on the Hill representing us. When CRNAs and nurse anesthesiology students return to D.C., they have paved the way for us to walk in, be heard, and have a seat at the table.  

    Getting involved in advocacy is as simple as attending your state and national meetings and participating in your PAC. You will learn how to speak to legislators, understand why it is important, and have a chance to tell them your story. You can start advocating in your state, attend events for candidates, join committees, and even serve on your state board. The more you attend and the more you get involved, the more recognizable you will become. Participating in your federal and state PAC is probably the most important thing you can do for your national and state associations, especially if you don’t feel comfortable “talking the talk.”   

    No matter how you choose to advocate for CRNAs, know that you will enable others to do their best possible job and have their voices heard.