Thomas J. Giannaccini III

Class of 2013 Co-Class Representative,
Nurse Anesthesia Specialty, School of Nursing,
University of Maryland, Baltimore
2012-2013 Student Representative,
Maryland Association of Nurse Anesthetists

The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program has had an enormous impact on my life. My life has changed drastically for the better since I met Dr. Lena Gould, CRNA, EdD and John Bing, CRNA. Not only did I get accepted to the Nurse Anesthesia program at University of Maryland, Baltimore; I have also made high quality lifelong friends.

From the very first Diversity Information Session I went to at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, I knew that I had met a group of friendly, high caliber people from interesting and diverse backgrounds. Next, I went to an Airway workshop at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I learned a great deal about airway anatomy, techniques for intubation, and how to use a fiber-optic bronchoscope. I also had the opportunity to view and manipulate an anesthesia machine.

Although I knew the experience was special, I didn’t realize how special it was until I started my first day of nurse anesthesia training. I soon realized that the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program is one-of-a-kind, and there are extremely limited opportunities to be able to view an anesthesia machine or learn hands-on airway skills prior to anesthesia school. Later, when I revisited these topics in class, I was able to grasp the concepts much more easily than if I had not gone to the Airway Workshop. Not only did this help me, it helped my classmates as well because I was able to share the experiences I gained at the workshop.

Another positive outcome of the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program is that I have become more sensitive to the needs of cultures which are different than mine. In making friends from various cultural backgrounds, sharing life experiences with them, and listening to their life experiences, I have been able to gain some insight into cultures which are different than what I grew up around. I have come to value variety of culture tremendously through the friends I have made in Diversity.

As a result of the friends I made through Diversity, I was offered an opportunity to help the people of Nicaragua on a medical mission. It was an amazing experience which really tested my anesthesia skills. John Bing, CRNA served as my mentor for the trip; I was humbled by the amount of experience and knowledge he was willing to share with me. I feel as though I have become a much stronger clinician as a result.

Through Diversity I was able to gain an insight as to what the field of Nurse Anesthesia is like before entering Nurse Anesthesia training. Being able to get my questions answered before entering the program was invaluable; I knew I needed to prepare myself for a very difficult 28 months. Subsequently, I was able to get my affairs in order before entering training. Considering how difficult the training is, I would not have wanted to enter graduate school without that insight.

To any prospective students who are on the fence about applying to Nurse Anesthesia school, I offer the following words of advice. 1) Get your questions answered. 2) Prepare your life so that you can focus without distraction for the next 3-4 years. 3) The work is hard but advice is available. This is what really makes it possible. Seek a good mentor, then do as they suggest, no matter how difficult. Best of Luck.

Marie Altagrace Medastin

Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist
University of North Florida, Class of 2013

While researching minorities in anesthesia during my first year of anesthesia school, I came across Dr. Lena Gould’s name in various online articles. When I heard her name during a session at my first AANA meeting, I had to introduce myself. During that introduction, Dr. Gould gave me her email address and informed me that I could contact her anytime. Weeks later, I sent her an email. Forty five minutes from the time I sent the initial email, she emailed back with her phone number. Twenty minutes later, I called her, and had one of the best conversations with a CRNA since starting anesthesia school. Dr. Gould and the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program has truly been a blessing to me. Prior to getting involved in DNAMP, my journey through anesthesia school was definitely a struggle. The members of DNAMP are devoted to mentoring not only minorities but also anyone interested in anesthesia. They are always a phone call, text message, or email away. Through the DNAMP, I have had the opportunity to network with people I probably would not have had to opportunity to meet without DNAMP. I have had the chance to complete research that will most likely extend to a doctoral degree. Lastly, I have gained relationships that will last a lifetime. My only regret is not finding out about the DNAMP sooner. Dr. Lena Gould truly is, ‘The Bomb Dot Com.’

Angela Pettis

Capt, USAF, NC

Shannon Segres, CRNA, MSN introduced me to Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia back in 2008 before I entered University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) NAP. Who would have known that this organization would inspire me and so many minorities interested in becoming a CRNA. Not only did I benefit from the advice and encouragement from this organization but more importantly it allowed me to become a role model for others. During my first year of school I received the DCANA scholarship for educating students (mostly minorities) at a local community college about Nurse Anesthesia. I also was the student moderator for the Diversity CRNA program at UMB. Despite being the only African American female in my program, I never felt alone. In fact, it motivated me to excel. Thank you Lena for your unwavering dedication and your courageous spirit!!