Describe the relationship AANA, NBCRNA, and the COA should share?
Anthony Chipas – Since I first joined the AANA many years ago, we have seen a continuing evolution of the relationships between the AANA, NBCRNA and COA. Each of these relationships is unique and vital to the health of our profession. The focus of these organizations is different, the AANA is here to protect the rights of nurse anesthetists, while the councils are tasked with protecting the safety of the public.
We all know that by law the AANA cannot control the actions and boards of the two independent councils, but that does not mean we cannot have a better, more collegial relationship with them. Getting along is about communication, something that I feel is missing in these relationships.
If elected, I will propose that there be a liaison member (possibly 2) from the Board of Directors assigned to communicate with the leadership of each of these councils. In addition, I think that the Regional Directors should have a region breakout session at the Assembly of School Faculty meeting to communicate the concerns of the members directly to the educators from their regions. This will facilitate better input of educational concerns from the members to the schools and give the members of the board a better understanding of the concerns and problems the schools face.
The NBCRNA does not take any funding from the AANA. They are able to fund their actions through accreditation fees collected from over 40,000 CRNAs. The work of the NBCRNA is vital and they must be viewed as the only accrediting organization for nurse anesthesia. Because of the contentious nature of the recently proposed recertification changes I think we definitely need better communications between the AANA and NBCRNA.
The COA is tasked with developing curriculum for our schools as well as assuring that our graduates meet specified criteria for graduation. Because of the nature of their work, they have a limited income, accreditation fees paid by the schools, and have until recently relied upon an unrestricted grant from the AANA. It would be very difficult for the COA to be totally financially independent because the schools cannot afford to pick up the whole cost of the council.
Many of our schools are under increasing budgetary constraints because of shrinking income from our state governments. If they would have their accreditation fees doubled, the only recourse they would have would be to either:
1. Increase the number of students (something none of our members want) or
2. Increase tuition costs (which would make AA programs more attractive to our applicants).
Neither of these actions would have a positive influence on the health of our educational system or the AANA. We already have outside organizations that would love to accredit our schools. We must not allow this to happen and we must maintain our own accreditation standards by maintaining a healthy COA. I feel the grant from the AANA should be continued but with some caveats (not restrictions). The COA needs to have a leaner budget and find ways to work more within the means that it has.
All of these relationships are about communications. The service agreements that are currently in place between the AANA and the councils are not enough. We must have direct and formal lines of communication between the boards to the betterment of our great profession.
Stephen Blanchard – The Council on Accreditation (COA) and the National Boards of Certification and Re-certification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) are vital to the establishment and educational maintenance of both entry level and and practicing CRNAs. In many ways these entities are responsible for, not only the professional performance of CRNAs, but the credibility of the nurse anesthesia profession.
To establish a relationship between the AANA and COA or the AANA and the NBCRNA, one must appreciate the inherent limitations. First, the COA and the NBCRNA are autonomous entities in both function and execution. Second, the COA and the NBCRNA are in and of themselves accredited by even higher accrediting bodies; therefore, they must answer to and abide by the rules and guidelines of entities other than the AANA or its membership. The accreditation process ensures that their certification practices are acceptable, typically meaning that they are competent to test and certify third parties, behave ethically and employ suitable quality assurance.
I agree and support the fact that both councils need to be independent of each other and of the AANA – this is imperative to our professional credibility. However, I also strongly believe that a symbiotic relationship can and must be cultivated between all parties. The AANA clearly represents the interests of its membership and this case would do well to cultivate higher levels of communication regarding both the COA and the NBCRNA. I support an open highway of dialogue, a way to officially channel concerns of the AANA membership to the appropriate council. For example, for the past several years a number of members have openly expressed concern regarding the quality of entry level practitioners into the workforce. Are these concerns being vetted properly? Are they being relayed to the COA? Are measures being taken to further discover why experienced CRNAs have raised concerns about this issue?
I embrace and will encourage the continuation and cultivation of a relationship between the AANA and both the COA and NBCRNA. While the the COA and NBCRNA are independent councils, I am confident that intellectual property garnered from the membership, by the AANA, would be extremely useful in their pursuit of maintaining the high quality of anesthesia care provided by nurse anesthetists.
Mark Haffey - I believe there needs to be a symbiotic relationship. The NBCRNA, COA, and AANA all should have the same goal; that is for the successes of the nurse anesthesia profession and for making CRNAs meet the highest standards for all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.
Yes, they are legally separate entities, but there should be input from all parties. As the NBCRNA and COA formulate vision and plans they should seek input from the AANA and likewise the AANA should seek input from the NBCRNA and COA as they are proactive in their agenda. By working together all entities are efficient and are able to adequately represent CRNAs.
The NBCRNA and COA have played valuable roles in the success of CRNAs; we need to learn to communicate better in order to be efficient and successful.
Leslie Jeter – The AANA, NBCRNA, and COA should share a collaborative relationship.
The NBCRNA, COA, and the AANA each desire and recognize the competence and safety of CRNAs.
Each of these entities are interested in the same goal – to promote and protect the practice of nurse anesthetists.
The NBCRNA and COA function autonomously as an affiliate organization of the AANA.
The AANA should partner with NBCRNA and COA for the good of the CRNA profession. Division will not achieve anything except a loss for the profession.
Final Question : Why are you running for Regional Director ?