Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others” ~ MLK 

This quote is embedded in my 2013 dissertation on the professional socialization of underrepresented minority CRNAs and Nurse Anesthesia Students. And, this quote was repeated at the end of my acceptance speech for the AANA 2019 Agatha Hodgins Award. And, strongly believe it is vitally important that leaders of nursing organizations acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

Wallena Gould, EdD, CRNA, FAAN 
CEO & Founder
Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program 

My Road to CRNA

Dear Dr. Gould, I am a LPN with the ultimate goal of becoming a CRNA. This is my plan…

Dear Future CRNA Colleague, I will personally mentor you through your journey. You do not have to navigate this by yourself. 
Your CRNA Mentor, 
Dr. Wallena Gould, EdD, CRNA, FAAN

Today, when Stevenson, J., BSN, RN, CCRN shadowed a CRNA, he just made himself one step closer to becoming a doctorate prepared Nurse Anesthesia Provider.

As per Stevenson, J.
Super awesome experience today. I had the opportunity to shadow these two diverse CRNAs, and see a few ortho and vascular cases.  I appreciate John (left) and Carlos (middle) for the vast amount of wisdom and knowledge they blessed me with today. I’m prayerful and will continue to take steps in the right direction!! CRNA IS THE GOAL! 

I am thrilled my abstract was accepted to speak at the 2020 AANA Congress Meeting in San Diego

Topic: Intersectionality of Racial/Health Disparities and Social Isolation of Nurse Anesthesia Students of Color: Strategies for Feasible Solutions and Measurable Outcomes

First, I will start with Kimberle Crenshaw and let the profession know it’s more than delivering a safe anesthetic.

See you in San Diego! 

Wallena Gould
Founder & CEO
Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program

SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT UPDATE who attended the Diversity CRNA Info Session & Airway Simulation Lab Workshop at the University of Miami in July 2019

Amongst the 160 RN attendees, this 12th grader was the only high school student in attendance who learned about nurse anesthesia and Doctorate education.

During the information session, he learned about entering nursing school, securing a critical care position, scheduling the CCRN Exam, GRE preparation, and the importance of shadowing a CRNA.

During the Airway Simulation Lab, this young man was able to intubate a mannequin via fiber-optic scope, inserted a spinal, nasally intubated a mannequin, witness an anesthesia machine check, and more!

The best part, he had fun and was able to meet Black male CRNAs. One of the Black male CRNA’s is from his home state of Mississippi, Captain Dr. James Winters who exchanged his contact information with his mother. . .
This future CRNA left the event with a CRNA mentor who mirrors him and will follow in his footsteps.

During Christmas break, this high school student shadowed Julian Carter, CRNA, MSN in the operating room. Mr. Carter mentored Captain Dr. James Winters, DNP, CRNA (US Air Force) when he was in college after being told of his dream to be a Pharmacist. Mr. Carter invited James into the operating room to shadow to see a full day of responsibilities as a CRNA. That shadowing experience ultimately changed his career trajectory. 

Now, imagine this post years from now when all three of them are in the same picture as he graduates as a doctorate prepared Nurse Anesthesiologist. 

So, you received this in the mail for a graduate nurse anesthesia program. What’s next?

All I can say is that we are from the same cloth, future CRNA colleagues. 
Here is my story: Seventeen years ago, I received the same letter due to subpar GRE scores. In it, I was told I had to register for two graduate nursing courses and earn at a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average. 
Instead, I registered for 7 grad pre-requisite courses before actual enrollment and earned stellar grades in one year. Then, graduated from the nurse anesthesia program and inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Upon graduation, within three weeks, I scheduled for and passed CRNA Boards on the first attempt. 

I was the first in my cohort to earn a doctorate degree with a prolific dissertation, started a non-profit CRNA mentoring program, became the first CRNA of color Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and Recipient of the 2019 AANA Agatha Award Recipient. 

But, tell me how the GRE was an indicator of success in a graduate nurse anesthesia program? My advice, as a conditional acceptance student, lighten your load by taking a few graduate nurse anesthesia courses with evidence of exemplary grades. 

If you receive a conditional letter of acceptance or placed on a waiting list, keep pushing, keep grinding. Remember, conditional is God’s way of saying your path is already destined and determined. 

You are not the first…now carry on! 
Wallena Gould, EdD, CRNA, FAAN

Once Upon A Time…

Black male nurse anesthesia students were part of the social isolation phenomenon of Nurse Anesthesia Programs. Then, we found ways to introduce them to CRNAs and SRNAs from different states to graduate nurse anesthesia programs. Welcome, Gannon University Nurse Anesthesia Student to a growing network of mentors.

This is Rodrick Thomas, MSN, RN, CCRN, APRN, FNP-C who just started his first day of the Nurse Anesthesia Program. He was introduced to the graduating senior, Ulysses Johnson. They both were introduced to Nurse Anesthesia Student, David Wright, University of Saint Francis (IN) CRNAs: Nkam Mongwa (NJ) and Dr. Tedrick Vernon (NC).