AANA’s 76th Annual Meeting Highlights Education and Wellness

M. Roseann Cannon-Diehl, CRNA, MH

mcfaddenContinuing education, wellness, networking, and mentorship formed the framework of the 76th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) held in San Diego, CA, August 8-12, 2009.

Despite a down economy, more than 3,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), student nurse anesthetists, and distinguished guests were lured to the AANA Annual Meeting by a week of educational offerings, social and charitable events, and a 192-booth Exhibit Hall, not to mention the desirable Southern California location. The event completes the association’s annual fiscal-year cycle of meetings which includes the Fall Assembly of States for state association leaders (November), the Assembly of School Faculty for nurse anesthesia educational program administrators and instructors (February), and the Mid-Year Assembly in Washington, DC, for state leaders and other members interested in legislative and regulatory issues and lobbying on behalf of their profession (May).

Education remains the heart of the AANA Annual Meeting. A wide variety of lectures, poster presentations, and hands-on workshops covering the gamut of practice-related innovations and issues were available for attendees.

Among the many topics covered this year were the following:

  • “TIVA for Neuroanesthesia” and “Current and Future Concepts in Neuroanesthesia” presented by Michael Rieker, CRNA, DNP.

  • “The Effect of Pain on Leukocyte Cellular Adhesion Molecular and Inflammatory Mediators” presented by Charles Griffis, CRNA, PhD.

  • “Suspension of Disbelief: Using Simulation in Healthcare and Nurse Anesthesia Education” presented by Celeste Villanueva, CRNA, MS.

  • “Evidenced-Based Resources for Clinical Anesthesia Practice: Surfing the Net” presented by AANA Practice Committee Chair John McFadden, CRNA, PhD (as part of the AANA’s initiative focusing on evidence to support all anesthesia practice standards and guidelines).

  • “Healthcare Disparities in the World of Anesthesia” presented by Rossana Bizzio, CRNA, MS, and Tony Umadhay, CRNA, MSN, at the Forum on Diversity and Inclusion (as part of the AANA’s ongoing efforts to create opportunities in anesthesia for minority nurses and become a more culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse professional association).

Always popular hands-on workshops covering regional anesthesia and other techniques were well-attended throughout the week.

The AANA’s Wellness Program, which recognizes and addresses the demands that the high-stress profession of anesthesia places on CRNAs and student nurse anesthetists, remains an important focus of the Association. The overall program includes a highly effective Peer Assistance program now in its 26th year, a regular
NewsBulletin column called “Wellness Milestones,” and information and support materials for members and their families to help them deal with stress-related issues that affect their health and overall well-being. At the Annual Meeting, wellness-related activities include a Wake-Up Walk for Wellness with hundreds of participants, a Wellness booth, and the Jan Stewart Wellness Lecture. This year’s featured speaker was Jeanne Stawicki, CRNA, a former smoker turned mountaineer and marathon runner who is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having scaled the tallest mountains and completed a marathon on each of the 7 continents. Her topic was “Ordinary to Extraordinary.”

Another wellness-related presentation at the Annual Meeting was “Condition Critical: The Inflammation Epidemic” by Floyd Chilton, PhD, noted author of the best seller “Inflammation Nation.”

The AANA has long recognized its student members as “10 percent of our membership, but 100 percent of our future.” As such, numerous Annual Meeting activities are geared toward student advancement in the profession and the Association. The Student Luncheon, Student Focus Session and Reception, Student Mentoring Program, and the College Bowl are all sought after and well attended by the 1,000-plus students who participate in the meeting.

Finally, the AANA’s philosophy has always been to give something back to the city that hosts the Annual Meeting. The Annual Party with a Purpose, sponsored by Baxter and held on Sunday night during the meeting, raises money and collects donations of toiletries and other life necessities for a local charity.

The 2010 AANA Annual Meeting will be held in Seattle, WA, August 7-11, 2010.

M. Roseann Cannon-Diehl, CRNA, MH, was chair of the FY2009 AANA Program Committee.