Iredell Health System celebrates National CRNA Week

Posted at 4:43 PM on Jan 20, 2019


CRNA Week 2019.jpgPictured (from left) are Cassandra Santus, Kris Earle, Sarah Pagano, Ken Sauser, Jennifer Kinser, Stacey Schlesinger, Autumn Mahaffey, Ron Butler, Winnie Tuck, Lorraine Angel and Toni Fortner. Not Pictured: Lee Thomas, Dawn Cozart, James Cowan, Kim Hottle, Katie Long, Jonathan Graham, Christy Halbedel, Anna Brower, Karen Courts, Kim Tribo, David Hensley, Meredith Draper and Bobbie Williams.

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Iredell Memorial Hospital’s certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) will join their colleagues in celebrating National CRNA Week taking place January 20-26.

CRNAs are advanced practice nurses who specialize in administering anesthesia for medical procedures.

CRNAs nationwide educate the public about the role CRNAs play in providing effective anesthesia care, anesthesia safety, and the benefits of receiving anesthesia care from a nurse anesthetist.

Iredell Memorial CRNAs provide one-on-one care, staying with their patients throughout their procedures to administer anesthesia and monitor vital signs.

“Each patient has our undivided attention,” said James Cowan, a CRNA with Iredell Memorial.

While this year marks the 20th annual CRNA Week since being established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, CRNAs have provided Americans with anesthesia since administering it to wounded soldiers during the Civil War. CRNAs now administer more than 45 million anesthetics in the U.S. each year.

“Our anesthetists and Operating Room staff work together in a tough work environment, sometimes as much as if in a battlefield situation,” Cowan said. “The wellbeing of our patients and cohorts is our first priority.”

Iredell Memorial provides anesthesia for more than 9,000 patients a year. It employs 14 full-time, three part-time, and multiple freelance CRNAs to meet its ever-changing and growing needs. They administer anesthesia in the hospital’s Operating Room Suite, Birthplace, Endoscopy Center, Cardiac Cath Lab, Critical Care, and Radiology Department.

“As anesthetists, we always have multiple contingency plans for every patient,” Cowan said. “We train and prepare for unexpected circumstances so we can handle them with confidence and determination.”

“We’re grateful to have such skilled CRNAs at the hospital and thank them for their selfless efforts,” added Toni Fortner, Iredell Memorial’s director of nurse anesthesia services.

About Iredell Health System

Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital, Iredell Home Health, Iredell Wound Care &
Hyperbaric Center, Community and Corporate Wellness, Occupational Medicine, and the Iredell
Physician Network. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only non-profit hospital in Iredell
County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247-beds, more than 1,500 employees, and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s, Cardiovascular, Cancer, Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. Iredell Memorial has also been named as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Hips and Knees, as well as Maternity Care, by Blue Cross Blue Shield. The mission of Iredell Health System is to inspire wellbeing. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit

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