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 47 nurse anesthetists currently on staff practice in a wide variety of clinical settings, including the Ronald Reagan Medical Center, 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 School of 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. Rose Cheung, CRNA, Jina Kim, CRNA, Huy Vo, CRNA and Matt Park, CRNA are the clinical coordinators for our student nurse anesthetists (SRNAs).
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:
- Emily Pinho, CRNA leads the team at Santa Monica Hospital and Santa Monica Surgery Center
- Dominick Berkery, CRNA leads the team at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital
- Natalia MacDougall, CRNA leads the team at Ambulatory Surgery Center and Stein Eye.
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 are supported outside of the clinical setting as well. Lauren Fagan, CRNA is the Wellness Ambassador for the nurse anesthesia team, incorporating events and offering resources to encourage work-life balance. To encourage team building , other energetic nurse anesthetists have joined in challenging athletic events including the “Liquid Run” and “Spartan Race”. Weekend activities also include hiking, whitewater rafting, bike rides to the beach and goat yoga.
Read more in our magazine, Open Circuit >
In June 2020, we piloted a CRNA mentorship program lead by Simson Wang, CRNA. The goal of the program is to ensure that all new CRNAs have the proper tools, information, and guidance to succeed within our large institution. Every new hire CRNA is paired with an experienced CRNA when they begin working. The pair meet up weekly to confer on the orientation progress, discuss specific case guidance, and provide coaching for communication and expectations. In addition, the mentorship program, combined with an extensive orientation program, supports their transition into our practice at UCLA as well as future growth.
Our CRNA intranet site is available to all staff as well as student nurse anesthetists. This interactive, online resource provides information about all of the clinical sites in our department. It was designed and is maintained by Huy Vo, CRNA and is updated to reflect the most current material such as virtual maps of clinical sites, important phone numbers, guidelines for specific cases, and journal articles.