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From Ashley Kliewer, PA-C, Director, Advanced Practice

National CRNA Week runs Jan. 19 to 25. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ 2019 Practice Profile Survey, 54,000 certified registered nurse anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists safely and cost-effectively provide more than 49 million anesthetics each year. CRNAs provide high-quality anesthesia care with reduced expense to the patient and insurances in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: hospital surgical suites, obstetrical delivery rooms, critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and outpatient practices, such as dental, podiatry and ophthalmology offices.

Nurse anesthesia programs range from 24 to 51 months, depending on university requirements. Graduates have an average of 9,369 hours of clinical experience and graduate with a minimum of a master’s degree, with 91 of the 121 programs approved to award doctoral degrees by 2022 for entry into practice. Nurse anesthetists follow a Continued Professional Certification Program composed of two four-year cycles, each requiring 60 continuing education credits, 40 professional activities credits, four core modules and a performance standard assessment at the end of the eight-year cycle. The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 325 to move to recognizing certified registered nurse anesthetists as CRNAs, instead of recognizing as only registered nurses. CRNAs were listed as No. 5 Overall Best Job and No. 3 Best Health Care Job in the U.S. News & World Report Best Job Rankings.

Meet Jennifer Wenner, CRNA

Jennifer Wenner
Jennifer Wenner, CRNA

Tell me your career highlights.
I started at LGH in 1998, working on 7 East as a nurse’s aide. I went to HACC for my associate degree in nursing, Eastern Mennonite University for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Villanova for my Master of Science in Nursing. I worked as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit and Endoscopy before pursuing my CRNA training at Chester Crozer Medical Center. After completing CRNA certification, I returned to LGH to work as a CRNA. Some of my accomplishments have been being named CRNA of the Year during the Medical & Dental Staff Awards in 2019 and Clinical Coordinator of the Year for 2019 by the Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia. Since 2014, I am serving as the Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist Clinical Coordinator and I oversee SRNAs rotations from Jefferson University, Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia, Villanova School of Anesthesia and Cedar Crest School of Anesthesia.

Tell me more about you role and passion as clinical coordinator.
I taught nursing at HACC and anesthesia at Jefferson University, which gave me experience for the clinical coordinator role. Working with my co-coordinators Maura Hiatt and Nicole Painter, I schedule our student rotations, meet with school directors yearly, and coordinate site rotation details, including the preceptors and student OR schedule, and keep track of cases students have had and cases they need. We are in constant contact with students and advance them to the level at which they are capable. Our students gain experience at LGH, WBH, SP, the Orthopedic Center, Endoscopy and EP. I built a neurosurgical rotation for the Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia, so students gain experience providing anesthesia for neurosurgical cases.

Junior (first-year) SRNAs pair with three core CRNA preceptors for continuity of care and learning. They are assigned their OR cases in advance so they can review and be prepared.

Senior (second-year) SRNAs and Super Senior (last few months of clinical rotation) SRNAs work longer shifts, so they have the exposure of starting and finishing complex cases, gain experience with rapid sequence induction, and handle unstable patients.

Over the years, we have grown from one or two students to five to 10 students daily in the operating rooms, making sure their assigned cases are appropriate for their level of training. This ensures a great learning environment.

My drive is to ensure all students have a therapeutic, safe, healthy environment conducive to learning, where they know their expectations and preceptors involved in their rotation. Our preceptors provide that environment. Providing a positive experience for students not only helps with recruitment but also ensuring that those students “pay it forward” and provide the same type of learning environment for their future students.

What is life like outside of work? 
I am married to my husband, Tyler, and have three children: Teresa, 21, who attends Temple University; Lilah, 11; and Beatrice, 3. I grew up in Reading and moved to Lancaster in my 20s, when I became a nurse’s aide at LGH. While I do love to travel, right now I am living through my oldest, who is doing the majority of the traveling. She has done humanitarian work throughout India and Asia and has hiked the Amalfi Coast. I love gardening, and I currently have 11 chickens and the best eggs in the world. My favorite part about raising them is their quirky personalities!

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