Gayle Rettner, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with Associated Anesthesiologists in St. Paul, talks about her job.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: Associated Anesthesiologists provides anesthesia services to several hospitals and day surgery centers around St. Paul. When I arrive at 6 a.m. at a particular site, I set up the operating room for the day. I check that the anesthesia machine is working properly, set up medications and see my first patient around 6:45 a.m. I work with an anesthesiologist, who typically interviews the patient first and takes notes. I read the notes, interview the patient, answer their questions and make sure all the lab work and test results are in. The anesthesiologist is present while we start the anesthetic. During the case, I maintain the patient's anesthesia, monitor vital signs, give medications as needed, wake them up afterward and bring them to recovery.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger health care picture?
A: As advanced-practice nurses, CRNAs are very cost-effective health care providers.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with surgeons, registered nurses, surgical technicians, physician assistants, administrative assistants, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, lab personnel, patients and families.
Q: Why did you become a nurse anesthetist?
A: I wished for more of a challenge and more autonomy. I looked into different programs and I thought this would be a nice career for me.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: I like interacting with the patients and their families, educating patients and answering questions about the care they might receive. I also like interacting with the operating room staff members, who are highly skilled in their areas.