From all of us at Barton Associates, we want to wish you a Happy CRNA Week! We’d also like to thank the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) for hosting this celebration of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) across the United States, as well as the CRNAs who work everyday to ensure patients’ safe anesthesia care. In honor of this week, we spoke with Renee S., a locum tenens CRNA, about what she has learned after almost 50 years in the field of anesthesia, and working in facilities across the nation as a locum tenens provider. Read on to hear what she had to say:
Renee S. is a newly retired CRNA. Out of almost 50 years of her career in healthcare, she spent 15 years as a locum tenens provider.
“It worked out really well,” she said. “I mean, like I said, [my locum tenens work] went on for 15 years. That was in 2004. In 2007, I even branched out to the Virgin Islands, which I really liked— I’m an island girl from birth, so that appealed to me.”
Ultimately, Renee says that locums have both challenged her, and have given her a variety of experiences to draw from. Here’s what Renee says she’s learned in her time as a CRNA:
Change is the Only Constant
In life, and with locum tenens work, Renee has seen the CRNA profession change into what it is today. “I’ve seen it evolve from being handmaidens to being independent practitioners,” she said, referencing how today’s CRNAs are able to practice with a high degree of autonomy, carrying a heavy load of responsibility in critical access hospitals, surgical suites, delivery rooms, and more.
In addition to witnessing change in the CRNA profession, Renee has experienced a consistent change in environment through locum tenens work. She acknowledges that it isn’t for everyone.
“I think not everybody can be a locum,” she said, adding that not everyone can handle working in one facility one month and another the next. But for Renee, it’s no problem.
“I believe that the only constant in the world is change. I thrive in that kind of environment.”
How to Keep Personal Standards
During her 15 years as a locum tenens provider, Renee says that there were only three jobs where she decided to leave an assignment early. Luckily, locum tenens assignments give providers the option for a 30 day out if they decide that they want to leave.
In one case, Renee recalls working with a doctor whose directions she did not always agree with. Renee was asked to administer medications that the patient told Renee that she was allergic to. While others may have felt uncomfortable confronting the doctor, Renee stood her ground and insisted on a safer alternative for the patient’s safety.
“I think it gets back to what you’re familiar with and your own skills,” she said. “Locum providers, I think, have to be really strong people and can encounter almost all kinds of things. They are able to handle the stress of it, and they have the ability to work with a bunch of different people day after day and still keep their standards,” she said.
Locum Tenens Work Offers Endless Opportunity
While some may have the misconception that locum tenens work is unstable, Renee’s 15 years as a locum CRNA proved quite the opposite: “From when I first started to when I finished, there were five or six offers for every minute that I had to offer,” she said.
Beyond that, Renee found that a locums career offers great personal freedom. “When I’m working, I’m not home. When I’m home, I’m not working.” she said. “And, because they’re locums positions, I am in charge of where I go, how long I go there, and when I go there, and if I ever want to go back again. That’s why I love locums.”
Whether you are just starting your journey as a CRNA, or getting ready to retire like Renee, all of us here at Barton Associates want to take a moment to thank you for your dedication to safe patient anesthesia. We look forward to helping you expand your career through locum tenens work.