Faculty practice provides faculty members with the opportunity to be engaged in their area of expertise. As leaders of exemplary, innovative, and culturally proficient faculty engagement, faculty members fulfill the mission of the UA Capstone College of Nursing’s Faculty Practice Committee. The Faculty Practice Committee strives to increase the visibility of the school of nursing by spotlighting the practice of faculty members as they practice in community agencies. Practice sites are diverse and represent the expertise and background preparation of faculty engaged in faculty practice. Faculty “spotlights” are updated multiple times annually to showcase the exceptional work of faculty practice members. Be sure to return to this webpage in the future to learn about the practice of other faculty members!
Tell us about your role at CCN.
Clinical Assistant Professor
I have worked at CCN for six years, the first 3 1/2 years as a part time instructor for NUR 326: Pharmacology for Nursing Practice, and the past 2 1/2 years have been in a full time capacity.
I have taught NUR 326: Pharmacology for Nursing Practice, NUR 419: Professional Nursing Practice: Complex Client Systems (4th semester), NUR 471: Professional Nursing Practice: Complex Client Systems (5th semester), NUR 529: Advanced Pathophysiology, and NUR 739: Scholarly Project Development.
Tell us about your faculty practice.
I am, and have been, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) for 35 years. Providing all types of anesthetic care to a wide variety of patients across the life span. I practiced full time as a CRNA at Northport Medical Center-DCH, Northport AL, until January 2018 when I accepted the full time position at the University of Alabama, Capstone College of Nursing. Currently, I work per diem at Northport MC. I continue to provide direct patient care to patients out of a love for nurse anesthesia and the surgical setting. Additionally, I feel a responsibility as a nurse educator stay up-to-date in both clinical knowledge and skills.
What patient population do you serve?
I enjoy participating in the care of people of all ages, from all over west Alabama. Whether they come to the hospital for the birth of a child or the delivery of a new knee, each day allows me to meet and interact with the people of my community and share in their life experiences.
Tell us about a typical day in your faculty practice.
Starting early (6a.m.), I arrive in the surgical suite and begin gathering the supplies and equipment for the day. Each anesthetic is unique, as each person is unique. Medications, supplies, and equipment all need to be tailored to the individual. Northport’s anesthesia providers are strong proponents of patient centered care and the incorporation of regional anesthesia, either as the anesthetic or as a means of providing pain relief after surgery. This means that on any given day I can provide a wide variety of anesthetic combinations. My favorite anesthetics involve pediatrics. So I am often in rooms that have heavy pediatric caseloads. As children are usually scheduled for earlier surgical times, my mornings are filled with “the wheels on the bus” and Disney hits, while the afternoons tend to be more sedate as patient’s ages increase. The typically day usually winds up between 3-4:00 p.m.
How do you incorporate evidence-based research into your faculty practice?
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has defined evidence-based practice (EBP) as the “integration and synthesis of the best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values” in order to optimize care. Key to EBP are patient preferences/values, clinical expertise, and research evidence. In my practice involvement of the patient is standard to every anesthetic. With the strong influence on regional anesthesia, the patient must understand and agree to everything you are about to do to and for them. Additionally, to demonstrate clinical expertise, I successfully completed a specifically designed course, by the AANA, on regional anesthesia. Lastly, incorporation of evidence is how anesthesia has evolved and become ever safer over the past 35 years of my practice. The improvements in patient monitoring, pharmaceutical options, and anesthetic techniques have all evolved via research. What used to be done based on touch and anatomical landmarks, is now done under direct visualization using an ultrasound machine, with great improvements in both patient satisfaction and safety.
What are your professional interests’ related to your faculty practice?
I have an avid interest in pharmacology and complex patient situations. First, every anesthetic involves numerous medications. As a CRNA I must have an in-depth understanding of not only anesthetic agents but also on the medications patients take on a daily basis. Understanding the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of medications helps predict and improve patient outcomes. Secondly, every anesthetic involves complex patient systems. Anesthetics involve the manipulation of every major organ system in the body. Teaching others about the interplay between our body’s systems is not only fascinating but it helps us, as nurses, better understand how pharmacology and pathology impacts our health.
What are your future plans related to faculty practice?
I hope to continue to practice and publish within the nurse anesthesia profession. I also receive many requests from CCN students about my practice as a CRNA. I hope to facilitate opportunities for our CCN students to engage with other practicing CRNAs to better learn about the practice of nurse anesthesia.
What changes have you seen in your area of expertise in the last several years?
The past 5-10 years has shown a huge shift from the liberal use of opioids, to the discovery (or re-discovery) of opioid alternatives. Research has shown how the development of chronic opioid-related adverse events (e.g. tolerance, hypersensitivity, and central sensitization) are linked to opioid exposure. Anesthesia is and has been leading the way in terms of pain management using opioid alternatives like regional anesthesia and non-opioid medications.
How does your practice contribute to the mission of the Faculty Practice Committee and CCN?
I believe every nurse needs to have an in-depth knowledge of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of the medications we give. As a CRNA I have had the unique opportunity to publish and present at the local, state, national, and international level on various medications and the nurse’s role in administration. I hope to share my passion for pharmacology in nursing practice with the next generation of nurses, thus promoting health and safe nursing practices in our communities.