Open Letter to Our Nurse Anesthetist Colleagues
as published in ASA Monitor, August 2021
Our partnership is one of the most successful in medicine and together we share a commitment to protect our patients during the most vulnerable and critical moments of their lives. Their lives may be on the line and they’re counting on a medical team with the best education, training, experience, and skills to ensure their health and safety.
In those moments, our teamwork makes a vital difference. We value our nurse anesthetist colleagues and recognize the important work all of us do together every day. We know most of you value and recognize the importance of this team-based model of care too. Because of its proven track record, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is dedicated to preserving and enhancing this model and the longstanding relationship between anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists.
Unfortunately, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) does not appear to have the same priorities. AANA’s aggressive actions to advance the nurse-only model of care do not align with our shared commitment to patients. AANA’s initiative for nurse anesthetists to adopt the term “anesthesiologist” and their plans for an organizational name change are less about advancing your profession and interests and more about disrupting our teams in the clinical setting where our patients count on us.
Our patients’ trust must not be allowed to be compromised by AANA’s efforts to use incorrect and misleading terms that will confuse patients and that discount the importance and credibility of your profession and its achievements. Let’s continue to focus on what’s best for our patients, just as we do every day when we work together in the operating room.
Please reject medical title misappropriation. Join us in maintaining our anesthesia care team and putting patients first. We are better together.