Nurse anesthetists comprise an integral part of the care team in the UCLA Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, as their dedication and clinical excellence promote and exemplify our department’s core mission and values.
The 40 nurse anesthetists currently on staff practice in a wide variety of clinical settings, including the Ronald Reagan Medical Center, the Jules Stein Eye Institute, the Ambulatory Surgery Center in Westwood, and the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. Our nurse anesthetists also practice at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, which reopened in 2015 to provide obstetric and general anesthesia care to a medically underserved area in South Los Angeles.
In addition to clinical assignments, UCLA nurse anesthetists participate in policy development, quality improvement initiatives, workflow optimization, and education. They regularly provide educational programs including courses on Procedural Sedation, Airway Emergencies, Anesthetic Considerations for Outpatient Surgery, and PACU Safety for our nursing colleagues in all perioperative phases of care.
UCLA is a clinical training site for the USC Keck School of Medicine and Kaiser Permanente Nurse Anesthesia Programs. Students work closely with nurse anesthesia staff and faculty physician anesthesiologists in many anesthetizing locations to gain clinical anesthesia experience. Nurse anesthetists also serve as instructors for various courses and lectures at USC, teach in the Simulation Center, and provide supplemental Board Review courses. Debbie Paris Teho, CRNA, Rose Wechter, CRNA, Matt Park, CRNA, and Pamela Shade, CRNA, are the clinical coordinators for our student nurse anesthetists.
As our department is continually expanding, we have added “Lead CRNA” roles to cover the various sites. These roles provide an opportunity to enhance leadership and management skills:
Salvador Tafoya, CRNA, leads the team at Ronald Reagan Medical Center.
Dominick Berkery, CRNA, leads the team at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital.
Natalia MacDougall, CRNA, leads the team at the Ambulatory Surgery Center and at Stein Eye Institute.
Committed to innovation and improving outcomes, several nurse anesthetists have participated in writing research papers and collecting data for post-doctoral research, under the guidance of faculty physician anesthesiologists and PhD nursing faculty. Our department also encourages global outreach, supporting nurse anesthetists who participate in mission trips providing care to underserved areas around the world including Nepal, Mexico, Myanmar, Kenya, and Dominican Republic. Their travels are featured on our Global Healthcare Initiatives page.
Overall health and wellness is supported outside of the clinical setting as well. Puja Karki, CRNA, is the Wellness Ambassador for the nurse anesthesia team, incorporating events and offering resources to encourage work-life balance. Another group explored a shared interest in photography in a session led by two of our anesthesiologists, Zhuang Fang, MD, and Chinh Mai, MD, in Newport Beach. Several nurse anesthetists serve on the department’s Peer Support Team. To encourage team building, other energetic nurse anesthetists have joined in challenging athletic events, including “The Liquid Run” and “Spartan Race”. Read more in our magazine, Open Circuit >
Please visit the UCLA Health Nursing website to see current opportunities at UCLA in advanced practice nursing. We welcome your interest!