Why I Became a CRNA

Dan Lovinaria, DNP, MBA, MS, CRNA, APRN

  • Apr 10, 2016

CRNA Since 2003

Dan LovinariaAs a critical care nurse in Hawaii, I was always fascinated with the knowledge and skills of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). When CRNAs were handing off patients after surgery, they projected and exuded great confidence. They managed their patients comprehensively from hemodynamic changes to airway support.
As an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), I was very attracted to the high degree of autonomy and professional respect that CRNAs command. They carry a heavy load of responsibility but the work is very gratifying. Nurse anesthesia was very appealing to me because of the many different practice opportunities including the VA, military, ambulatory surgery centers, trauma centers, obstetrics, and rural areas where CRNAs are often the only anesthesia professionals.
As a practicing VA CRNA in Minneapolis, I am honored to care for our nation’s veterans who fought for our freedom. They deserve only the best care and access. I wake up every morning and get ready for work knowing that our veterans are my priority for the day.
I received my master’s degree in nurse anesthesia in 2002 from the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia, and earned my doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) in 2008 at the University of Minnesota.
After practicing for a year as a CRNA, I had the opportunity to become an independent CRNA contractor at 14 facilities, including Wisconsin, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, providing anesthesia care. It gave me many opportunities to work with different practice models and appreciating all the different anesthesia settings.
As an engaged member of the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA) and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) since 2002, I have had the privileges to be the current President of MANA, AANA Communications Committee Chair, MANA State Peer Advisor, Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program Director, and the Associate Program Director for the University of Minnesota DNP Nurse Anesthesia Program.
I helped develop a nurse anesthesia traineeship curriculum in the Philippines with Filipino-American CRNA faculty colleagues from across the country. At the end of the day, it’s about giving back to the profession that has provided me this amazing career.
I have been a nurse since 1998 and have worked in different nursing settings, including critical care, rehab, psychiatry, home health nursing, med-surgical, risk management, infection control, and nursing staff education before embarking in the nurse anesthesia profession. I did not expect all the many opportunities and possibilities. I also did not expect that the nurse anesthesia profession has the highest job satisfaction and is currently the number two profession to pursue in healthcare. In addition, having my DNP has also provided me leadership roles at the VA Minneapolis. I feel that my perspective is valued and appreciated.
If you are considering nurse anesthesia, you must be emotionally, psychologically and financially ready. In addition, you must have a strong support system and a good sense of wellness balance. It is a very rigorous program but not impossible. You must have good time management and organizational skills.
The future of anesthesia care today is ever so bright. It is important to be a safe and competent CRNA but you must also understand and appreciate the business of anesthesia. You need to get involved in your state and national associations. You must understand health policies that might affect your practice.