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Clifford Charles

RN, BSN, CCRN-CMC-CSC (New York)
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.

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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

SRNA 
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!

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