Welcome to another edition of Humans of UCLA Anesthesia, with many thanks to author Jordan Francke, MD, and today's featured interviewee, PSST Grace Guzman! How many people do you know who've taught yoga on a catamaran in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?? Read more about Grace's fascinating background and wide travels, and enjoy!
Where are you originally from?
I’m Filipino-American with a touch of European. I was born in Long Beach, lived in San Diego for a bit as my dad was in the Navy, grew up bicoastal in New York/New Jersey, and also grew up frequently visiting family in Spain (Barcelona & Figueres) and island hopping in the Philippines (Manila & Visayas). I can speak/understand about 6 different languages/dialects.
Where do you live now? Why did you pick it?
I live in the heart of Pasadena now. I was living in Venice Beach prior to moving to Pasadena and wanted a change of scenery. I think one of the beauties of California is its diversity, I like to say that I traded in the ocean for the mountains.
How did you come about deciding on being a PSST? What is your favorite part of it? What is the training to be a PSST like?
I’m currently a Nationally Certified Anesthesia Technologist through ASATT (American Society of Anesthesia Technologists/Technicians). My favorite part is being able to assist our anesthesia providers and provide high quality care to our patients.
I was a bartender through college and eventually worked in marketing, where I had to travel to different cities across the country to various conferences and expos. I’ve always wanted to work in the medical field, so I decided to go back to school to become a nurse. I finished the prerequisites and quickly found out that many nursing programs are oversubscribed or not accepting new applicants. I eventually came across Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia for Anesthesia Technology and saw that they have similar prerequisites for nursing, so I applied and was accepted.
Kaiser’s School of Anesthesia for Anesthesia Technology is the first accredited Anesthesia Technology program in the country and I’m fortunate (and very thankful) to be taught by MDs, DOs, CRNAs and Anesthesia Techs. We learned how to critically think about various types of cases along with our knowledge of anatomy/physiology, our scope of practice, the basic and advanced principles of anesthesia technology, professional aspects, pharmacology, equipment theory, lab and much more. Once we finish the program, then we can take the national certification exam (like how nurses take the NCLEX). We also rotated through several clinical rotation sites to receive a well-balanced experience in different types of hospitals and settings. I’ve had the pleasure of rotating through Kaiser San Diego, Children’s Hospital LA, Kaiser Irvine, Kaiser Panorama City, Huntington Hospital and Kaiser South Bay to name a few.
Why did you pick UCLA vs other hospitals?
I rotated through UCLA Santa Monica during clinicals, and I love how UCLA fosters a wonderful learning environment. I’m working with amazingly talented humans and I’m constantly in awe of what they do. Fun fact, my grandfather also worked at Santa Monica Hospital (before it was bought by UCLA) when he first immigrated here to the U.S. from the Philippines. I like the idea of keeping a family tradition alive here.
What are your interests outside of work? My interests outside of work include traveling, creating, discovering new coffee shops, exploring new places, being out in nature, practicing yoga, meditation, Buddhism, reading, music festivals, etc.
Where are you planning for your next vacation?
My sister recently moved to Switzerland, and I hope to visit her soon. There are also a couple music festivals in Europe that I’d like to attend. I also like the idea of exploring South America and Southeast Asia as well.
What might people not know about you/might surprise people?
I backpacked through Central America (with friends) and Europe (solo) a few years ago. I also volunteer to teach yoga to young children at an orphanage in Mexico. In addition, I like collaborating with amazing people to create unique experiences, like teaching yoga on my friend's 2 story catamaran boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.