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 115 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 the primary clinical affiliate for the Union University Nurse Anesthesia program in Jackson, Tennessee. Student nurse anesthetists assist in approximately 7,000 anesthetics per year while on Vanderbilt rotations. SRNA coordinators are CRNAs Brad Koss and Andrew Philips.
The CRNA Division mirrors the VUMC operating room pod organization, and the role of the service specialist within the CRNA structure is to improve communication with all pod members. The six service specialists are Neurosurgery Service Specialist Tammy Freehling; AOS/Ortho Service Specialist Kathy Vehring; General Oncology/Urology Service Specialist Ken Donnell; Opthalmology/Otolaryngology/Oral Surgery/Plastics Service Specialist Shawnee Brenkman; Out-of-OR Service Specialist Ki Szmyd-Hogan; and Pediatric Cardiothoracic Service Specialist Lewis McCarver.
In addition to SRNA training, the CRNA division has developed a strong program of Continuing Education Unit-eligible educational programs designed specifically for CRNAs. These programs are overseen by CRNA Educator Mike Leersnyder, CRNA.
Chief CRNA Steve Blanks and Assistant Chief CRNA Buffy Krauser-Lupear direct the CRNA Division. Five designated lead CRNAs are Brian Reid in Ambulatory; Paul Wilson in Obstetric/Gynecology; Edith Newberry in Adult Cardiac; Amanda Dickert in Pediatrics; and John Butorac in Multispecialty Adult Anesthesia.