Erica Bryant

Drexel University Nurse Anesthesia Program – Class of 2015

The love of science has been instilled in me for as long as I can remember. My grandmother and numerous aunts were nurses and my father was biology major in college. This passion for science was reflected in my first career choice as a Cytotechnologist. As a cytotechnologist I studied the vastness of the human body on a cellular level and continued to marvel as I learned to thoroughly understand the human cell and how various disease processes affected it.

While my career allowed me to help patients indirectly, not having direct contact with them left me feeling unchallenged and frustrated. In 2004 I decided to do something about my frustration and began to extensively research the many fields of study that pertained to Health Sciences. As I weighed my options, I found the nursing profession to be a natural fit for my intellectual and nurturing capabilities. READ MORE

As I researched various careers in nursing, it had also become my decision at this time to pursue a degree in advanced practice nursing. I became interested in Anesthesia, a discipline which appealed to my natural affinity for human physiology. Equipped with a new found passion for the Nurse Anesthesia profession, a friend had told me about Dr. Wallena Gould and her mission to mentor minorities interested in pursing a career in nurse anesthesia. I attended my first Diversity Information Session in 2008. It was at this meeting, I met and heard from the AANA Past President of 1973, Goldie Brangman, CRNA, MBA;what an absolute honor.

Through Dr. Gould’s encouragement and mentorship I am now enrolled in Drexel University’s Nurse Anesthesia Program. I can truly say that I would not have been able to make it as far as I have if it had not been for the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship program. Thanks ever so much Dr. Gould for the tremendous sacrifices you have made to make the dream of becoming a Nurse Anesthetist a reality for me and so many other minorities. GOD Bless you!!!

Mark Doria

Rutgers University Nurse Anesthesia Program

The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program has opened so many doors of opportunities for me, including gaining admission into a CRNA program. I attended my first DNAMP session at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. The information session and airway simulation were so helpful in guiding me through my application process. Getting “my feet wet” in the simulation lab was an exciting experience and strengthened my inner desire to become a CRNA.

Dr. Lena Gould and Mr. John Bing became my mentors and I truly admire them for all the hard work they do in keeping this organization going. They have given me inspiration not only to become a great CRNA, but to guide and mentor future minority SRNAs (like myself). I was honored to have been a part of the SRNA Panel at the University of Pittsburgh (March 2013, to share my experiences with others who will be undergoing the same experiences I did. DNAMP has allowed me to become a part of a melting pot of intelligent individuals, coming together in unity. Thank you Dr. Lena Gould, Dr. John Bing, all the mentors, CRNAs and participating schools for such a fantastic program!

Deji Babalola

Drexel University Nurse Anesthesia Program – Class of 2015

In 2008, I attended the Diversity CRNA Information Session at the Camden campus of Rutgers University. The guest speaker was Frank Purcell, BS (AANA Senior Director Federal Affairs). At the time, I was just starting an accelerated BSN nursing program. I was excited to become a nurse, as I had a degree in finance that left me somewhat unfulfilled.

This information session was sponsored by the DNAMP, and it opened up my eyes to the world of anesthesia. There were minority nurses, students, SRNAs, and CRNAs from across the country. They were there enthusiastically pursuing a career in nurse anesthesia or mentoring other people in some fashion. They were open to questions, and provided insight on the rigors and pleasures of a career in nurse anesthesia. They exchanged their personal information and were willing to help me and other students in any way possible.

In addition to the information session, I was invited by Dr. Gould and her colleagues to attend an airway workshop. Now as an SRNA, I now have a bigger appreciation of the opportunity. To have well experienced nurse anesthetist walk you through an anesthesia machine check and present the various airway devices used in anesthesia is a valuable experience that cant be overemphasized.

I would not be in a nurse anesthesia program if it was not for the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program. Point Blank. Period.

Jianqiao Chen

Drexel University Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program Class of 2014

The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program has opened a door for me to realize my dream. Thanks to the founder, Dr. Wallena Gould, who would do her best reaching out to me and anyone that need help, whether it is academic, emotional, or financial support. The connection I have built through DNAMP is incredible. DNAMP feels like a big family to me, and what’s more important is that as a SRNA, I am no longer pursuing my dream of becoming a CRNA all alone.

Alison Murray

University of Maryland Nurse Anesthesia Program, Class of 2015

I first met Dr. Lena Gould in 2010 when I attended the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program Workshop at the University of Maryland. In 2012, I attended the Airway Workshop held at Drexel University. I was able to gain so much valuable information and advise from Dr. Lena Gould, Mr. John Bing, and numerous other CRNAs and SRNAs. As a Registered Nurse and before I applied to a nurse anesthesia program, I attended the AANA Mid-Year Assembly Meeting and was engaged in the process of advocacy of nurse anesthetists across the country. It was at this meeting, Dr. Gould and John Bing introduced me to many CRNA colleagues and leaders of the AANA.

DNAMP has given me the support and encouragement I needed to succeed. I have always felt that both Dr. Lena Gould and Mr. John Bing were wholeheartedly dedicated to helping guide me through this challenging process. As an SRNA, I look at my fellow classmates and I am able to see and feel the strong presence of The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program. I am sincerely grateful for all that Dr. Gould and Mr. Bing have done to help prepare all of us to become strong CRNAs.

Eric N. Dinally

University of Pennsylvania Nurse Anesthesia Program
Class of 2015

After graduating with my BSN, I began exploring which graduate degree would best suit me. I searched the internet, read books and met with various nurse practitioners and nurse managers to explore my options. While researching I stumbled on the profession of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. I had a general understanding of the role of a CRNA, however; I was unaware of the process of becoming one. A friend told me to look into the Diversity CRNA Mentorship Program and luckily for me, I did just that.

I attended the Diversity CRNA Information Session & Airway Simulation Lab at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. I was able to get hands on experience and practice Adult/Pediatric Mask Ventilation, Adult/Pediatric intubation, spinal placement on a lumbar model, Fiber-optic and glide scope intubations and basic review of an Anesthesia Machine. Though I enjoyed having the hands on experience, it was the warm and friendly environment that Dr. Lena Gould and other Diversity CRNA members created that made the lasting impact for me. READ MORE

It was this setting, which made me feel comfortable speaking to Program Directors of various CRNA programs on a one on one basis. It was at this event I was able the meet Chris Giberson, CRNA, MSN (now the current NJANA president) who invited me to go to their next meeting.

As a Registered Nurse, I attended the NJANA Fall Symposium where Dr. Gould who also attended and introduced me to Dr. Arthur Zwerling Chief CRNA at Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) who then invited me to shadow him at FCCC and in which I did. Then, I attended the New York Association of Nurse Anesthetist Meeting in the Fall and met Lynne Reede, CRNA, DNP (AANA Region Director) who embraced me as if I was currently enrolled in a program. A few months later, I applied and was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania Nurse Anesthesia Program and in my opinion it was because of Dr. Gould and Diversity CRNA Mentorship Program. Amazing journey so far…

Agnes F. Liem

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care
Certified Asthma Educator

As a pediatric nurse practitioner in the middle of a career change towards becoming a nurse anesthetist, I was thoroughly impressed at the professionalism and depth of information presented at the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program (DNAMP), which I attended at the Samuel Merrit University on March 21-22, 2014. Dr.Lena Gould and Mr. John Bing’s curriculum promotes diversity and under represented minority individuals for successful selection and completion of CRNA schools. The guided format allowed for open discussion with active and current leaders of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), various academic program directors,current CRNAs and student ambassadors. Informative sessions reviewed academic requirements for program admissions, challenges of the interviewing process, and a graduate level anesthesia lecture was even presented to the attendees as a guide for the academic rigors expected of nurse anesthesia students. READ MORE

The airway simulation lab on the second day allowed direct hands-on experience of the anesthesia machine, medications, basic and advanced airway management, central line placement, spinal anesthesia, bronchoscopy and placing a central-line utilizing ultrasound sonography. The program instilled confidence and excitement for like-minded individuals as we transition from being nurses to the pursuit of entering nurse anesthesia school. For me, this well-rounded collaboration and support make the idea of becoming a nurse anesthetist a very strong reality! Thank youto Dr. Lena Gould, Mr. John Bing, academic program directors and the CNRAs and SRNAs who volunteered to make this program an excellent one. I highly recommend this program to any nurse interested in becoming a CRNA.

Clifford Charles

CMC (AACN Cardiac Medicine Certified)
CSC (AACN Cardiac Surgery Certified)

The weekend of June 13-15, 2014 was life changing and priceless! It was the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program’s June session hosted at the beautiful University of New England campus in Portland, Maine. My short getaway has certainly propelled my confidence and has given me a rich professional impact! In fact, it has been hard to put down my phone since due to all the people I have come to know. As with previous sessions, there was an opportunity to meet CRNAs from around America and pick their brains about the entire selection process, academic rigors, along with personal and professional experiences. Through personal anecdotes, panelists recounted their honest and vivid clinical experiences, the positive, the humorous, and other times that were great learning opportunities. Some shared the bigger meaning within the profession and the global impact of nurse anesthesia, which definitely tapped a nerve for me.

I love the strategy that Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program has used to promote the nursing specialty. In a nutshell, DNAMP is essentially a network of CRNAs with a well-defined vision for the future of nursing. My opinion is that the group challenges qualified minority nurses to reach for their maximal potential professionally. Iwould like to say you couldn’t possibly put a price the hands-on experience. We were introduced to the Narkomed anesthesia machine and had a chance to intubate mannequins. The live simulation portion made for a really fulfilling time as I had a chance to play with the classic anesthesia tools including the Macintosh and Miller laryngoscopes, and visualized anatomical landmarks like the vallecula using glidescopes and fiberoptic laryngoscopes! When I took the plane ride home I had sometime to reflect on the weekend and I could envision my future in nursing anesthesia.

On one hand I could also see how this program can serve as a rescue mission for thosestudents with great potential that for whatever reason felt discouraged about their previous pursuits. Some people touched on the idea that for one reason or another, whether it was lack of support, money, application rejections or other hindrances have held a lot of people back from reapplying. Those individuals found hope and those are the stories that are truly inspiring to me and I feel that if people with much bigger obstacles can succeed than I have no excuses.

There is an implicit promise in this organization and the movement is real. This is an avenue for potential candidates to complete the application process, enter school, graduate, and make a meaningful mark within the profession. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the pure existence of this program and it has its place right now as the format of nurse anesthesia programs are only getting more competitive.

I have struck oil here and there is some irony to my personal story over the last few weeks besides consuming volumes of knowledge about the profession, ordering a copy of Watchful Care, and meeting tons of CRNAs. Firsthand, I have already experienced how small the community is and in fact I have just shadowed one of the panelists formerinstructors. I applaud Dr. Wallena Gould, her family, and her colleagues for their continued hands-on approach in mentorship. By far I feel blessed to meet the terrific people who have left a mark on me. I can project only great things from here!

James A. Winters II

University of Mississippi NAP

My first exposure to Diversity CRNA was as a nursing student, I attended the 2012 Fall Session hosted by Duke University. This was an impactful experience as it allowed me to interact with a dynamic group of Anesthetists, SRNAs and RNs; all of who looked like me. Everyone at the conference was just as much encouraging as they were informative. I took the information provided and established contacts. One of the contacts, Mr. John Bing, was extremely helpful in constructing a plan of action for admission into Anesthesia School. Mr. Bing made himself readily available, thoroughly answered questions, and offered great advice throughout the entire application process. The plan of action proved to be effective as I was just admitted into the University of Southern Mississippi’s NAP! Thank you Mr. Bing and Diversity CRNA!