National CRNA Week, Jan. 19-25, recognizes the nation’s nearly 54,000 certified registered nurse anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists. In honor of these clinicians, who provide care to 49 million patients each year, Envision Healthcare would like to share our gratitude for all CRNAs and spotlight a few of our own.
Lori Ortman: A Leader in Clinician Wellness
Lori Ortman, Chief Nurse Anesthetist at Capital Health Medical Center in Pennington, N.J., began her career as a pediatric cardiac nurse and felt an immediate draw to managing patients’ pain during the perioperative period. Pursuing her passion as a nurse anesthetist, Ortman provides patient-specific anesthetics through pre-operative assessments, surgery preparation and post-operative management. “I am helping people through one of the more stressful times in their lives,” Ortman said. “Yes, we are practicing medicine, but people are in need of both medical and emotional care.”
Ortman oversees 40 nurse anesthetists throughout New Jersey at Capital Health Medical Center-Hopewell, Capital Health Regional Medical Center and the Surgery Center at Hamilton. “When I was a new leader, other chiefs reached out to me with helpful directions and resources almost immediately,” Ortman recalled, adding, “I think this is special to the Envision community, and I’ve been grateful to have this support 100 percent of the way.”
Ortman has also developed a new program to address the issue of clinician burnout. “I want to be an advocate for nurse anesthetists,” Ortman said. “I feel like I wouldn’t be a good leader if I didn’t provide my employees with tools for success.” In 2019, Ortman collaborated with Headspace, an app designed to support wellness through the practice of meditation, to provide over 200 employees with access to this self-care app. Extending her reach, Ortman has now collaborated with Envision Physician Services’ chief nurse anesthetists and chief anesthesiologists to offer these benefits to employees at Princeton Medical Center, Jersey City Medical Center and Community Medical Center.
Jim Mermigas, Vice President of Advanced Practice Providers for Envision Physician Services, speaks to the impact of our nurse anesthetists and commends Ortman’s leadership. “Patients look to nurse anesthetists to be by their side and help them through the challenges of surgery,” Mermigas said. “Lori Ortman, in addition to our entire staff of nurse anesthetists, has shown such great dedication to the role, and we applaud her for helping others.”
Kelly Harden: The Patient Advocate
Kelly Harden, Vice Chief Nurse Anesthetist at Memorial Hospital-Jacksonville, discovered her passion for ensuring her patients’ care and safety. “From the beginning to the end of a procedure, I enjoy my role as the patient advocate,” Harden said. “I truly feel my voice matters when it comes to their care, and this value drives my work every day.”
Through Envision’s care team model, Harden and her team work together across service lines to provide high-quality patient care. “The mentality of the care team model is awesome because we focus on collaborating our skills and specialties in order to get the job done in the best possible way for the patient,” Harden said. Harden also spearheads team-building initiatives, including her creation of the MHJ Jaguar of Quarter in which one employee is recognized for going above and beyond.
Harden, an Envision clinician for seven years, consistently works with her team to find new ways to combat opioid dependence and learn more about the physiology of chronic pain. “With the opioid crisis going on, we are really focused on treatment alternatives as well as implementing more chronic pain management techniques and nerve blocks,” Harden said. In addition to her work in the hospital, she is also furthering her knowledge in the specialty by pursuing a fellowship in advanced pain management.
Andrew Greenfield, M.D., President of Anesthesia Services for Envision Physician Services, appreciates the high-quality work of these caretakers. “To be successful in this role, you must be highly skilled, compassionate and able to rapidly respond to changes,” Dr. Greenfield said. “I am continually impressed by the work ethic and patient care of Envision’s nurse anesthetists. They are valuable team members.”
Nate Georgette: The Team Builder
AMSURG’s Nate Georgette, nurse anesthetist and partner at Quality Anesthesia in Long Island, N.Y., is a full-time clinician and medical recruiter for one of the largest nurse anesthetist organizations in the northeast. His work has been instrumental to the company’s growth, from a handful of employees in 2007 to currently well over 100 nurse anesthetists providing services to more than 30 offices, surgical and trauma centers.
From the beginning of his nursing school clinical in the ICU, Georgette knew he had chosen the right career. “I still remember the first day I went to clinical at Boston Children’s Hospital,” Georgette said. “I cared for a seven-year-old patient with cystic fibrosis. It’s one of those experiences that gives you goosebumps when you realize how much of a difference you are making in someone’s life, even when it’s simply listening to their story.”
Outside of caring for patients in the operating room, Georgette leads recruiting and ongoing support of independent contractors for the Connecticut and Massachusetts divisions of Quality Anesthesia. “I find myself making the biggest difference for my colleagues when I share the important tools that I have learned throughout my career that can enable them to improve their financial situation and experience their careers as independent practitioners.” Georgette educates and supports nurse anesthetists in the establishment of their own private corporations, business bank accounts, disability, health and malpractice insurances, and other necessary items.
Angela Durham, MBA, Vice President of Anesthesia for AMSURG, said Georgette’s role as a recruiter and clinical resource has continued to be pivotal since 2014 when he joined the company. “Our entire company is centered around providing both high-quality patient experiences and clinician wellness,” Durham said. “Nate has given so many employees the chance to take ownership of their role.”
As he strives to help improve the quality of life for his CRNA teammates, Georgette encourages them to find balance in their personal and professional lives. “My group is dedicated to our CRNAs enjoying their lives holistically,” Georgette said. “When they realize how we may be able to make this difference in their lives — that’s when I get most excited.”