January Spotlight – Steven V. Ball, MBA, MS, CRNA, APRN
Steven began his healthcare career as an Emergency Medical Technician in the metropolitan Boston area. While attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Nursing, he worked in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in a variety of positions in rural, urban, and suburban areas. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Steven moved to Hartford, Connecticut to work within the Hartford Healthcare Organization as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department and Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit. During this time Steven obtained his paramedic certification and concurrently had a career in emergency services while also working in his RN roles.
In researching which step to take next in his career, Steve shadowed a CRNA and began to learn about the profession. “Nurse Anesthesiology was never on my radar – in my undergraduate training there was no time taken to explain the importance of what we are able to do as Nurse Anesthesiologists.” A career in Nurse Anesthesiology would also allow him to settle in a more rural area of the country with the ability to practice independent of physician oversight. Steven began attending his graduate training at the New Britain School of Nurse Anesthesia (NBSONA) in 2006 and graduated from NBSONA and Central Connecticut State University in October 2008 with a Master of Science in Biology/Anesthesia. Upon graduating, he worked within the Hartford area until finding an opportunity in Plymouth, NH, where he moved in 2010.
From 2010 to 2019, Steve served as staff at Speare Memorial Hospital (SMH) in Plymouth. In 2018, he was appointed as the Chief of Anesthesiology after changing the practice from a Physician led department to a CRNA led practice. In his time as the Director of Anesthesiology, Steven instituted an opiate free anesthesia program which cut opiate consumption in the perioperative period by 95%, as well as a non-surgical pain management program for hospital inpatients. In 2019, he left SMH to pursue a private practice opportunity with Collaborative Anesthesia Partners (CAP), where he served as the Chief Operations Officer. Desiring a return to full-time clinical care, Steven accepted a position as a Staff Nurse Anesthesiologist at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, NH in June 2020.
In 2015, he obtained his Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration from Plymouth State University, through a program that partnered with the University of Antigua Medical School. He has lectured to the New Hampshire Hospital Association on Opiate Free Anesthesia, as well as throughout New England on Ultrasound Guided Regional Anesthesia. When not administering anesthesia, Steve enjoys outdoor activities with his family, traveling, and woodworking.
What His Colleagues Say About Him…
Mentor, leader, clinician, colleague, advocate. Steven Ball encompasses all those words to the fullest. Steven is highly skilled, yet beautifully humble. He is incredibly efficient, yet unfalteringly patient. He is decisive and assertive, while simultaneously bringing a welcome dose of humor combined with unlimited kindness to those he cares for. Steven has been a leader in our CRNA community by serving on the NHANA BOD. He has taught countless nurses, students, and other colleagues over the years, and I count myself tremendously blessed to have been one of them.
Beloved by his patients for his unyielding search to provide better patient care, Steven never ceases to strive for better. He is a tireless advocate for patients, for CRNAs, and for our profession. Steven has influenced my practice, and that of many others, in a myriad of ways. He truly stands out from the crowd, and today, occupies a deserved place in our CRNA spotlight.
Getting to Know You…
1. Top 3 hobbies/interests outside of work?
Outdoor recreation: Be it hiking, mountaineering, skiing, biking, kayaking, camping, boating, etc. I enjoy being in the outdoors as much as I can. Except when it’s raining – I really hate the rain.
Travel: I try to travel as much as I can, either domestic or international. The experience of new cultures has been integral in my outlook in life and I especially enjoy seeing my children experience it.
Woodworking: I enjoy learning the new skills that are a part of this as well as the concentration it requires. It is very fulfilling to create something instead of purchasing it.
2. Favorite thing to do in NH?
Hot summer days at the lake.
3. Mountains or Seacoast?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Right here in New Hampshire. Prior to moving here whenever I traveled, I would envision myself living in other places. Once I moved to my home in NH, I enjoy the return as much as the trip.
5. Hardest anesthesia concept in school to figure out?
6. Pedi or Adults?
I enjoy taking care of children, especially ones that I know because as a Nurse Anesthesiologist you can have a very profound impact on how both they and their parents perceive the entire perioperative process. However, the majority of my cases are adults due to the environments in which I currently practice.
7. CRNA you look up too? WHY?
When I first moved to NH in 2010, I joined a practice with one physician and one other Nurse Anesthesiologist. The other CRNA was Terry Copsey, who has since retired. I had only been a CRNA for about a year prior to coming and had to quickly figure out the world of critical access hospital anesthesia. Terry was integral in helping me be successful in this. I was fortunate enough to work with him for 8 years before he retired, and in that time, he was always very supportive no matter what I wanted to do. Even though he was towards the end of his career he never shied away from a challenge or learning new skills along with me. His mentoring was what made the difference in my success as an independently practicing provider.
8. Bucket list:
So many places to travel but only one lifetime to do it all!
One piece of advice you’d like to impart to future CRNA’s?
What we are able to do for our patients is an absolute privilege. We have a very small window to meet someone, evaluate them, concoct the best anesthetic plan for them at that time, and most importantly, gain their trust.