July 2020 Spotlight – Francis (Frank) Valenti, MS, CRNA, NSPM-C
Frank started his career in healthcare as an 18-year-old nursing assistant in the ICU at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. It was there that he met a CRNA for the first time- a nurse named Kevin Kelley who was working in the ICU before heading off to anesthesia school. After talking with him, as well as another nurse mentor who had chosen to become a CRNA, but due to family obligations had to decline his offer for school, Frank became more and more interested in the specialty and began to look into the process he would have to go through to get into school. “Honestly, the thing that attracted me the most to anesthesia at the time was the perception that it was the hardest nursing specialty to get into, and that no one (other than the CRNAs I spoke with) seemed to know exactly what CRNAs did!” Frank also noticed the calm, professional demeanor of most of the CRNAs he met; “I knew I wanted to grow up to be like them.”
Fast forward about 12+ years, Frank graduated with his BSN, had worked for a few years doing ICU nursing at both Children’s Hospital (medical- surgical ICU) in Boston and Brigham and Women’s (in the cardiac surgery unit). He applied and was accepted to Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Nurse Anesthesia program. “There were a lot of steps to get to that point, but I was very fortunate to have a number of supporters along the way.” Most notably his colleagues in the ICU at Brigham who knew of his ambitions and went out of their way to make sure that he got the clinical experience he’d need. His manager at Children’s Hospital ICU who wrote a letter of reference to attend anesthesia school, despite being many years since he had worked for her. And Kris, his wife, who had already completed a graduate degree and turned around to support the both of them while Frank chased his dream. “During the tough times in school, I often thought of the people who believed that I could do it and it helped me keep at it.”
Frank graduated in 2002 from anesthesia school, and returned to Boston to work. After a short time practicing in Richmond, Virginia, Kris and Frank finally made their way to New Hampshire where they have been since 2005. “Practicing independently was a whole new world and like being in school again.” His interest in interventional pain management began years ago, but was peaked in 2005 when approached by a number of surgeons to help with their chronic pain patients. There were no formal training programs for CRNAs in pain management “back then”, so Frank and a colleague; Greg Aprilliano took it upon themselves to leave their full-time positions and take an offer to learn interventional pain management and work in the specialty full-time. They started the first office based, CRNA-only pain management practice in the state of NH and have been working in the field ever since. The duo was asked in 2018, to start a new service line at Littleton Regional Healthcare and are now the pain management division of the Alpine Clinic, A multi-specialty orthopedic, sports medicine and minimally invasive spine surgery practice. They are also a clinical training site for the University of South Florida’s Advanced Pain Management Fellowship, which they graduated from in 2019. “I’m happy and grateful to be in a position to help with the education of future pain management CRNAs. I’ve come to believe that one of our greatest opportunities as a specialty is the ability to make sure there are number of CRNAs doing high quality and comprehensive pain management.”
Frank has had the opportunity to start many small, office-based dental sedation sites, another area of interest and growth for our profession. Being as diverse as possible and supporting the efforts of our colleagues as we can, we stand the best chance of distinguishing ourselves as the experts we are. In the future, Frank hope’s to be able to continue teaching and making an impact in his beloved field. “I’ve found that teaching requires me to continue learning and growing in the field.” One of his mentors in anesthesia school told him at graduation…”now, your education starts”. “While I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I do now. This is a great field for us and the future has never been brighter. I’m excited to see how our practices can evolve over the coming years, and am proud to be part of growth and progress.”
What His Colleagues Say About Him…
Frank embodies the mindset of giving back throughout his practice. From his patients to his colleagues, Frank is always available and ready with help, guidance, and support. While splitting his time between helping patients to relieve their chronic pain with cutting edge technology, to caring for our most vulnerable patients, children going through terrifying dental procedures; Frank oozes a calm, caring, and compassionate sense that quickly garners trust and understanding from patients and parents. You believe that he is here to help you, and will do whatever he can to take the best care of you. Children willingly walk away from their parents with Frank into an unknown because of his ability to create an environment of trust and caring. Frank has dedicated much time to educating himself on techniques for pain relief while completing a pain fellowship. He uses that knowledge to then educate other anesthesia providers while in the clinical and education sectors.
He is ever ready to show colleagues new practice techniques whether in the pain arena or in the pediatric dental arena. Welcoming CRNA’s to train with him, teach them the business aspects of a successful independent practice, tirelessly working to cultivate relationships for new practices, and overall representing CRNA’s as a whole in a professional and positive light. If you’ve ever had time to sit with Frank and talk, you know that his heart is completely dedicated to making things better than when he found them. And while sitting with him, at least five other people walk past who know him and stop to chat. While working with his partner in Littleton, he quickly volunteered to be available to the hospital for COVID related needs when his pain practice was paused due to the virus. Frank’s reputation with his colleagues near and far, the staff he works with day to day, and the community he lives in, is one of trust, respect, and professionalism. All these qualities and many more, make Frank Valenti an excellent showcase and if you get the chance to meet him, you’ll walk away better for it. Thanks for all you do Frank…it’s noticed by many and appreciated.
CRNA Spotlight of the Month Question Set…
- Top 3 hobbies/interests outside of work?
- My wife and I have 3 active and busy kids so most of our spare time is spent with their school and extracurricular activities.
- I have practiced Brazilian jiu jitsu for the past 8 years and competed a couple times and find that to be challenging and fun. I also love to help coach the sport and have been lucky enough to run a weekly class myself for the past year or so.
- I love to spend time on the lake with my family and our friends.
- Favorite thing to do in NH?
Spending time on Squam Lake, realizing that our kids are making memories to last a lifetime.
- Mountains or Seacoast?
Mountains for sure.
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Costa Rica. Been there a few times and love the quiet beaches and friendly Ticos. A friend of mine just moved there to open a bed and breakfast on the beach, so I see many more trips there in our future.
- Hardest anesthesia concept in school to figure out?
Minimal Alveolar Concentration. I remember a group of us trying to reason this out over a week of studying- not sure we ever got it fully figured out, but apparently we all did well enough to pass the test we were studying for.
- Pedi or Adults?
My practice covers both- and I love things about each. I began my career as a pedi surgical nurse and iCU nurse at Children’s in Boston, so Ive always appreciated the exactness and attention to detail that enter into pediatric care. I also like treating adults in my pain practice as I can often help with lifestyle and other changes to help them work toward identifying root causes of their pain and finding ways to over come them.
- CRNA you look up too? WHY?
Keith Macksoud, CRNA. He was one of my instructors at Memorial Hospital School of Anesthesia in Pawtucket Rhode Island. He is a veteran and a hard ass as a teacher (he wouldn’t mind me saying that). He taught me a great deal of anesthesia, but also to be an advocate for myself and my profession. I cant say Ive reached the political heights that he has, but Ive always remembered his teaching when representing us when Ive spoken with administrators, medical staff and state boards of practice. His advice to me was to remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants and that many who came before us sacrificed much. Contribution to the profession is important to me and I believe a large part of that goes to the education I received from people like Keith.
- Top 3 bucket lists items?
- a) Learn to fly airplanes- I recently went up in a friends plane and he let me “fly” for a few minutes- he just let me hold he yoke and feel how the plane handled and explained some very basic concepts to me. It terrified me. Even though we were 10,000 feet in the air, I kept thinking I was going to crash us into a mountain or another plane. So now I have to learn to fly so that doesn’t happen anymore.
- b) Achieve a doctorate degree- haven’t narrowed down the specifics of this one yet, but I feel that having a terminal degree helps to legitimize our practice with our medical colleagues. Not to mention with the insurers. In my pain practice I have seen many denials due to the credentials of the provider, we have made many many strides forward in the time Ive been a CRNA, and I think the advancement of our educational requirements has had a lot to do with that.
c) Earn a jiu jitsu black belt- working at it every day- its a lot of fun, but more work than I ever imagined.
One piece of advice you’d like to impart to future CRNA’s?
Leave it better than you found it. Contribute something of yourself to the profession and make sure that the ones who come after you have it a little easier than you diid. Also make sure you take enough time to enjoy what you’ve earned- you deserve it.