Nurse Anesthesia

Nurse anesthetists are an integral part of the anesthesia care team in the UCLA Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine. They practice in a wide variety of clinical settings including the Ronald Reagan Medical Center, the Jules Stein Eye Institute, the UCLA Medical Center and Orthopedic Institute in Santa Monica, and the two UCLA ambulatory surgery centers in Westwood and Santa Monica. Recently, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH), located in a medically underserved area, was added to our network to provide obstetric and general anesthesia care to that community. In addition to clinical assignments, our staff participate in policy development, quality improvement initiatives, workflow optimization, and education.

UCLA is a clinical training site for the USC Keck School of Medicine and Kaiser Permanente Nurse Anesthesia Programs. Students work closely with nurse anesthesia staff and faculty physician anesthesiologists in many anesthetizing locations to gain clinical anesthesia experience.

Our nurse anesthetists regularly provide educational programs for our nursing colleagues. Every year, Erica McCall, CRNA, provides a course on the administration of conscious sedation to nurses from the interventional radiology, cardiology, and gastroenterology units, and the pain services. Shelly Anderson, CRNA, and Matthew Park, CRNA, have met with MLKCH nurses to review safety in blood product administration and the management of neuraxial complications. Alex Olender, CRNA, gave a presentation on new anesthesia techniques to PACU staff nurses. Dominick Berkery, CRNA, and Emily Pinho, CRNA, gave airway skills training for annual competencies to nurses at the ambulatory surgery center. Recently, Natalia Macdougall, CRNA, spoke at the Perioperative Nurses Annual Meeting in Santa Monica about malignant hyperthermia, and Ana Armenta, CRNA, presented a safety lecture about anesthesia for GI endoscopy to staff nurses of the Medical Procedure Units (MPU).

In addition to their clinical and educational activities, several nurse anesthetists have participated in writing research papers and collecting data for a post-doctoral study, under the guidance of faculty physician anesthesiologists and PhD nursing faculty. Huy Vo, CRNA, is studying postoperative outcomes related to reintubations in the PACU. He is also joining the team that will update our electronic medical record charting in "Care Connect", UCLA’s version of EPIC.

Opportunities for mission work abroad exist in the department as well. Several nurse anesthetists have joined other professionals in providing care to adults and children in underserved regions of South America, Asia, and Africa.

  • Debbie Paris-Teho, CRNA, traveled to Nepal with UCLA head-and-neck surgeons to perform laser airway procedures. She also taught the hospital staff about laser safety practices.

  • Thao Hoang, CRNA, has participated in several medical missions with the "Healing the Children" organization.

  • Lauren Fagan, CRNA, will be part of the Aloha Medical Mission going to Myanmar soon for adult general surgical procedures.

  • Natasha Pyykko, CRNA, will travel to Kenya with the group "Kenya Relief" to provide general anesthesia for goiter surgery. Rose Wechter, CRNA, made the same trip last year.

  • Erica McCall, CRNA, traveled to Eritrea, Africa as a volunteer to teach anesthesia skills to nurses studying at a local school. This mission was sponsored by Health Volunteers Overseas.

Please visit the UCLA Health Nursing website to see current opportunities at UCLA in nursing management and advanced practice nursing. We welcome your interest!