NH CRNA Spotlight of the Month

Do you know a CRNA who elevates your practice or impacts the patients they serve? How is your practice, your patients, or your world a bit better because of this person’s actions? Have you ever wanted to show your appreciation for someone who deserves special recognition for the work they do everyday to better our profession? With the CRNA Spotlight, you can do just that. Nominate your colleagues, staff, or someone you feel deserves a moment in the “Spotlight” for contributing to our profession. A different CRNA will be featured monthly on the NHANA website and social media.

Click here to complete a nomination form.

NH CRNA Spotlight of the Month

March Spotlight – Sarah Stark, MS, CRNA

Sarah was exposed to nursing and healthcare very early on. As a child, she would accompany her GNP mother on outings with the nursing home residents that her mother had “adopted” due to them not having any family of their own. She saw first-hand the impact that nurses could have on the lives of others. After working for a technology start-up in Silicon Valley, Sarah became disenchanted with corporate life and found her way back to healthcare. She put herself through a night ADN program while working as an Executive Assistant in a small community hospital. There, she was able to see a variety of practice areas and was drawn to the fast pace and excitement of the Emergency Department, where she received a Boston Globe Salute to Nurses nomination. She continued to work in the ED while pursuing her BSN, receiving Highest Honors and the Nursing Leadership Award from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. During her undergraduate education, Sarah stayed true to her mother’s teachings and traveled to Ghana, Africa with Ghana Health Mission providing much needed health services to rural populations.

Sarah went into her nursing career set on receiving an Advanced Practice Degree. She moved from the community setting to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she was an assault liaison in the ED. It was there that she learned of the Nurse Anesthesia profession, 6 years after becoming a nurse. Nurse Anesthesia immediately resonated with her and she began applying for an ICU position, moving to the Burn/Trauma SICU at BWH where she was on the Face and Hand Transplant Team, as well as assisted in opening an 18-bed SICU at MGH with a sub-focus of trauma and liver transplant. Sarah attended the Yale New Haven Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia, graduating in 2014, where she received the Faculty Award for Clinical Excellence and completed the Mentorship Program at Midyear Assembly with Wilma Gillis, CRNA. She was also on the board of the NEASRNA and was a member of the Diversity Committee.

Sarah’s first job as a CRNA was at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA. After getting married and having a child, she moved to New Hampshire in 2016 working at Dartmouth Hitchcock. At DHMC she is the CRNA Lead for the Center for Surgical Innovation, a state-of-the-art operating area that has intraoperative MRI and CT capabilities. She is also on multiple committees and liaison groups as well as being a CRNA Facilitator, acting as a resource for her colleagues. Sarah is also co-investigator on a study looking at Anesthesia Care in Remote Locations. She also spent two years on the NHANA board. Sarah’s time in NH is coming to an end, however, as she is moving to Wyoming with her family due to her husband’s business.

What Her Colleagues Say About Her…

Sarah is an excellent clinician, wonderful colleague, and a strong leader. Sarah is the type of colleague that can be counted on for anything and everything. Need sharp critical thinking & quick clinical problem solving? Sarah’s the colleague you call. Coordinating tons of moving pieces, allocating staff, and marshaling resources? Yeah, Sarah’s got that covered in spades. Scared, anxious, alone? Sarah’s soft voice, compassion, and calm demeanor will put you at ease, whether you’re a patient or a colleague in need.

Sarah is a shining example of an exceptional CRNA. She exemplifies clinical excellence as well as keen leadership skills and the empathetic touch of a caring nurse. Sarah excels in the role of CRNA facilitator at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, is part of the pediatric team, is the Lead CRNA for the Center of Surgical Innovation and is co-investigator on a study looking at anesthesia care in remote locations. She has advocated for New Hampshire CRNAs by serving a term as director on the NHANA board of directors. Through all these actions, Sarah inspires her colleagues earning her much due recognition as one of the greats in our great state.

Getting to Know Sarah…

1. Top 3 hobbies/interests outside of work?
Just about everything outdoors, especially hiking; I also love to garden/homestead and always try to find time to get my hands on a good book

2. Favorite thing to do in NH?
Explore hiking areas/lands that are a bit less traveled and then stop at a cozy tavern for a pint afterwards

3. Mountains or Seacoast?

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
This is a tough one as we are avid travelers… if I had to choose one place, probably Chile

5. Hardest anesthesia concept in school to figure out?
I still have to look up some of the gas laws…

6. Pedi or Adults?

7. CRNA you look up too? WHY?
I look up to people who are constantly striving for self-betterment, are giving of themselves both in their personal lives and to the profession, and who have the utmost integrity. I know many CRNAs that fit this description, however, the one I most look up to is Rae Ritter.

8. Top 3 bucket lists items?

  1. Overland the Pan American Highway
  2. Thru-hike one of the US long trails
  3. Climb Kilimanjaro

One piece of advice you’d like to impart to future CRNA’s?

Becoming a CRNA is a huge opportunity. One way to maximize your potential is to seek experiences that give you the greatest breadth of practice… and at the same time be sure to pursue financial literacy so that you can comfortably find work-life balance.


Sarah Stark, MS, CRNA