Nurse anesthetists provide extremely important service

Published May 5, 2018 at 4:00pm

Regarding an April 9 story on Gov. Cuomo’s budget and the perspective of NYSSA: NYS Society of Anesthesiologists: Legislature put patient safety first. As the current president of the New York State Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NYSANA), I believe the article is flawed with multiple untruths and is a public smear to our profession of nurse anesthesia.

The budget proposal would have no such removal of safeguards to patient anesthesia care. In fact, the current practice of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) includes working arrangements of administering anesthesia under the supervision of a physician such as a surgeon OR an anesthesiologist.

In fact, many hospital and facilities in the state have CRNAs working without anesthesiologists all the time, as this has been permitted since the 1980s.

CRNAs are advanced practice nurses specializing in anesthesia. Providing all forms of anesthesia (general, regional, sedation, etc.) CRNAs are advanced cardiac life support, advanced pediatric life support, and basic life support certified.  When emergencies occur under anesthesia, CRNAs are well prepared.  When seconds count, we are already there to act and initiate life-saving techniques on a daily basis. This is a reality. 

The rejection of the proposal in the governor’s budget was rejected for various reasons.  It is clear from speaking to the Legislature, safety was not an issue but rather, having a scope of practice bill passed in a budget was an issue. 

Many hospitals are unable to support the salaries of anesthesiologists, especially in rural areas. They are also unable to find anesthesiologists wanting to work in rural areas.

CRNAs who read your paper deserve to have their profession acknowledged for what it is and the extremely important service they provide.

— Dr. Cheryl A. Spulecki, president, New York State Association of Nurse Anesthetists