• Nurse Anesthesiology is Education

    By Lisa Riedel BSN, MS, DNP
    (248) 505-2707

    Fellowship is defined as a group of people meeting to pursue a shared interest or aim. My interest is nurse anesthesia educational programs, and my aim is to make them inclusive, innovative, and enjoyable. I share this interest with many wonderful people.

    I am the director of the nurse anesthesia program at the University of Tulsa —the first and only one in Oklahoma. I relocated from my beloved home state of Michigan to start the program. Why? Because Oklahoma needed a program and the job had been open for three years. Because I wanted to take what I had seen as a student and as faculty in three nurse anesthesia educational programs and make one that I would have wanted to attend. Because there was no culture to change. Because I am a little bit adventurous. The fellowship called!

    As CRNAs, we are all shaped by our education. Not just by the knowledge of anesthesia and passing the board certification exam. We are shaped by how we are treated by our program director, the faculty, the staff, and our clinical preceptors. By how we got along with our classmates (or didn’t). By our clinical practicum sites. By the first job we take as a new graduate. By the debt load we are saddled with.

    There is no greater way to influence the future of our profession than by being involved and invested in nurse anesthesia educational programs. These programs must deliver the necessary didactic background to be competent and safe providers. They are where we learn the culture and history of our great profession. They are also where we first understand what it means to be a CRNA. We have a wealth of resources on what to teach and how to deliver the material, but very little attention is paid to the culture in which that teaching is done. Is it a culture of inclusion and respect? Or fear and competition? Is it accepting of all races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, sexual orientation, gender identities, and neurodivergence? Or is conformity and obedience the rule?

    I know the kind of program I want to run in Tulsa. Two cohorts are in, and our third starts this summer. I am grateful to be in a university that supports me. To have an assistant program director who is of the same mindset. To have the good fortune to hire a third faculty who believes in this vision.

    I am in the fellowship of nurse anesthesia educational program directors, assistant directors, and faculty. We all share the interest of nurse anesthesia. We all share the aim of it being the best profession. I am working continuously to create the best educational environment to shape the best nurse anesthesia providers. It is an honor and a privilege