College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines

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UND Nurse Anesthesia alum explores the political process at AANA Assembly

Sarah Nell, DNP, APRN-CRNA Nurse Anesthesia Class of 2023, shares her perspective from the mid-year assembly.

UND Nurse Anesthesia alums Madeline Adamczak ‘23 (L) and Sarah Nell ‘23 (R), in Washington, D.C. for the AANA Mid-Year Assembly.

This spring, as a student registered nurse anesthetist, I was fortunate to attend the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiologists’ Mid-Year Assembly 2023.

This conference is intentionally set in a place where the conversation is never ending and activism can be a 24/7 activity—Washington, D.C.

Mid-Year Assembly is a conference for both students (SRNAs) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), designed to prepare us for advocacy on a state and national level. I attended the conference with one other classmate, Maddy Adamczak, and another nurse anesthesia student from Texas Wesleyan, Lance Cox. It was a memorable trip for all of us.

Washington D.C., by and of itself, is an extraordinary city. The conference was located downtown and all within a few blocks of the White House, Capitol building, numerous national monuments, historical sites and buildings, and a bustling food and shopping scene. Walking down the street, you may see a senator, artist, businessman, or even the President driving by with up to ten secret service cars or bikes alongside him. The diversity of people and ideas is apparent. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as some of the biggest decisions in our country all happen within a few miles of each other.

Mid-Year Assembly was a combination of advocacy, research, and opportunity all tied together. We were able to hear and learn from active advocates, who are passionate about ensuring CRNAs practice to their full potential and scope. CRNAs remain the primary providers of anesthesia in rural America, providing excellent, affordable care; however, this is not without the work of persevering individuals at our nation’s capital.

We North Dakotans understand the importance of this rural care, and it was just as apparent to me how important this work is to keep medical care close to home. Our group from North Dakota, four CRNAs and three SRNAs, met directly with Senator Cramer’s, Senator Hoeven’s, and Representative Amstrong’s offices on Capitol Hill. We discussed CRNAs in rural healthcare, nursing workforce shortages, and Veterans Affairs access to care—all active issues being discussed on Capitol Hill at that moment.

It was such an important moment, both as a resident of North Dakota and SRNA, to talk about these issues in person on Capitol Hill. I would recommend any SRNA or CRNA to attend this assembly and advocate for the excellent care we spend so many years training for.

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