April 2020 Spotlight – Kristen King MS, CRNA, APRN
Kristen King is a proud native of Keene, New Hampshire, where she started her nursing
career like many of us, as a Certified Nurse’s Aid. Watching her mother complete
nursing school, as a young child, she found her passion and calling for a life in health
care. “When I didn’t have school, I would go to her classes with her and pretend like I
was taking notes. I decided in the third grade nursing was what I wanted to do”. With
patience and dedication, she worked her way through nearly all avenues of nursing to
become the CRNA she is today. From nursing assistant, to EMT, to LPN, and
eventually obtaining her Bachelors Degree from The University of Massachusetts
Amherst. True to form, she didn’t stop advancing her practice there. Working her way
through New England as a Registered Nurse, Kristen transitioned from family practice,
onto urban ERs, eventually ending up in a busy Cardiac ICU, where she would find
herself in charge of the unit. This is where she cultivated a passion for cardiac surgery
patients that would lead her down the path to anesthesia school.
Interestingly, the idea of becoming a CRNA was not in the forefront of her mind during
her nursing career. Kristen originally intended to pursue a career as a Palliative Nurse,
providing comfort for patients at the end of life, however this instead turned into critical
care and ICU. “In nursing school I nearly passed out during a hip replacement and
vowed I would never work in an OR. My path to becoming a CRNA was a lot of
coincidences which I now believe was God directing my life. I actually fell into it as a
career. I wish it was fancier then that”. A simple conversation with a CRNA, whom at
the time she referred to as an “anesthesiologist”, educated her as to what a CRNA was
and did, she applied to only one school, placing it in God’s hands, and stated “the rest is
Upon graduating from Central Connecticut State University/New Britain School of Nurse
Anesthesia with her MS, Kristen found herself in Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic, where
she continued to learn the nuances of giving anesthesia “the Mayo way”. She spent two
of her first impressionable years honing her anesthesia skills at the world renowned
institution before deciding to return to New Hampshire to start her family.
Kristen was a proud member of the Concord Hospital anesthesia team for 12 years
while independently raising her two sons. There she served as the Chief CRNA for 4
years, where she further nurtured her passion for cardiac and thoracic surgery patients,
became a leader for excellence in care, a true advocate and resource for her staff, and
profound patient advocate. Currently, she is part of the independent CRNA/MD team at
Lakes Regional General Hospital. Over the last nearly 2 years at LRGH she has been
able to focus on her newfound love for Ultrasound Guided Regional Anesthesia.
Kristen’s faith in God has navigated her down many paths in her life. Recently she
embarked on her first medical mission. Her trip last year to Guaimaca, Honduras was
truly life changing. Honduras has left her passionate about overseas work and she can’t
wait to return. She also gives back to the NH CRNA community by serving as one of
the NHANA Social Media Outreach Members, working to encourage other CRNAs in
New Hampshire to be involved and connected. During this difficult pandemic crisis,
Kristen has been busy helping to coordinate the care of COVID-19 patients at LRGH,
collaborating with her team and administration on how to utilize CRNAs to the full
What her colleagues say about her…
Kristen is both an accomplished anesthesia provider and a wonderful person. Her
technical skill and warm, calm, interpersonal vibe led her to become the chief CRNA at
Concord Hospital. She now works in independent practice at LRGH, where she cared
for my grandmother. Her gentle touch, calm voice, and thorough, expert approach put
our family at ease. Kristen has also served on mission trips and is engaged in learning
& possibly teaching regional anesthesia. Additionally, she has volunteered to assist with
NHANA’s social media outreach, creating connection and community amongst our
members. Her skill, demeanor, professionalism and advocacy make her a credit to our
8 Quick Questions to Get to Know you Better…
- Top 3 hobbies/interests outside of work?
Raising my two amazing sons and spending time with my friends and family. I have
such a circle of love around me.
Reading anything I can get my hands on.
I am passionate about anything and everything about our amazing God.
- Favorite thing to do in NH?
Alpine Ski. NH has so many mountains to explore.
- Mountains or Seacoast?
Both! Winter is Ski Mountains – Summer is Ocean
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Right here! New Hampshire has the best of everything.
- Hardest anesthesia concept in school to figure out?
There is a unique dynamic in the OR that I spent so much time studying; the patient
technically belongs to the surgeon, but their life belongs to the CRNA. It’s a delicate
balance about when to push and when to give in. We are partners with the surgeons
while trying to undo everything they are doing to the patient. As they cause pain or
bleeding with the scalpel we fix it. They cause hypertension or tachycardia…and we fix
it. We work together yet against each other. It’s such a challenging, but rare and fun
- Pedi or Adults?
Adult Thoracic Anesthesia is my absolute passion.
I also love Overseas Mission work & Regional anesthesia which are tied for a close
- CRNA you look up too? WHY?
Only one? Geez. My career has been filled with so many mentors. Today though, it is
Luke Stafford. He has a quiet, unassuming demeanor but is filled with regional
anesthesia knowledge beyond perhaps anyone I have ever met. He is passionate about
our profession and is very generous with his time and his knowledge to the rest of us.
He is a natural leader, and NH is very lucky to have him.
- Top 3 bucket lists items?
Christian Medical Mission work. I would love to do more but most importantly I want to
teach anesthesia in underserved areas.
Learn Spanish and Chinese.
Experience the Northern Lights
One piece of advice you’d like to impart to future CRNA’s?
The CRNA community is tiny. Get involved. Be proactive. Make friends. Ask questions.
Support one another, always. Our profession and our patients need each and every one
of us to do these things constantly. Together we are truly incredible. This is an amazing
profession, it’s OK to be proud of it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.