May 2020 Spotlight – Anna Goodkin MSNA CRNA
Anna Goodkin MSNA CRNA Anna had wanted to be a nurse her entire life. As a child, she was drawn towards helping others and taking care of sick people, animals, and even wildlife. She enrolled in nursing school in her early twenties and started working as an LPN on a Geropsychiatric floor. Always wanting to push herself to learn and do more, while working nights she finished her nursing degree. Like so many others, she worked her way up the nursing ladder, transitioning to a med-surg floor before ultimately transferring to the ICU at Frisbie Memorial Hospital. “I loved the ICU and worked in critical care for nearly 10 years before I finally decided that I needed a change. I was getting divorced and needed a way to be able to support my family on a single income. I learned about CRNAs while researching advanced nursing degrees. I had never even heard of them before that time! I discovered it was a perfect match for what I wanted – the ability to keep doing all the things I loved about critical care and loose the things that I was burned out with.”
She immediately went back to school and finished her BSN from The University of New England while continuing to work in the ICU and then straight on to their anesthesia program graduated in 2008 with her MSNA. “It was hard work as a single mom. My daughter was a freshman in high school the year I started and my son was starting first grade. With a lot of help from my family and sheer stubbornness I graduated.” She took her first job at Wentworth- Douglass Hospital, one of her primary clinical sites, and found her “work home”. She loves the model of working in an anesthesia care team yet being able to practice independently. They taught her how to do ultrasound guided regional anesthesia, epidurals, spinals and even invasive lines. Allowing her the ability to maintain her skills doing everything. “Needless to say I have never left. I love the practice. WDH has grown tremendously over the years but I can honestly say everyone here is like part of my family and I can’t see myself ever wanting to change.”
She has been chief CRNA for WDH for the past four years, and has made it her mission to advocate for our profession and show our value to the hospital. “For years I don’t think anyone even knew we existed. I am trying to change that and working on getting us all involved in various areas throughout the hospital.” When not working for her team at the hospital, she enjoys giving back through medical mission work, traveling to Haiti for several years now and finding a true passion for it. Her family keeps her busy on her days off babysitting her grandson. “It’s exhausting but could not make me happier.” Her future goals are to keep growing the group at WDH. She is enjoying working with hospital leadership and hopes to be able to grow her role with them as well. “Anytime CRNAs can get out there to show leadership, it’s a step in the right direction for our profession.”
What Her Colleagues Say About Her…
Anna and I have worked at WDH for 11 years. Until recently we never had a chief. Anna stepped up. She has exceeded her role during this pandemic. Working 24/7, without exaggeration, to keep our department up to date with hospital command center, fluid work schedules, and the challenging personalities that are overwhelmed by anxiety. Anna has insisted on a “seat at the table” as the chief CRNA. Now she’s representing to the entire hospital who we are and what we do. I’m so very proud to have Anna as the leader she is and the road she has paved for us in this hospital. She never rests. She takes every opportunity to stand up for CRNAs and our skills. She has spear headed a significant change in culture for this department and hasn’t rested when there were obstacles. We are being seen and heard by our administration. Eyes are being opened and seeing us for our value and what we can contribute especially during this difficult time because of Anna. I could continue and give countless examples and stories about Anna’s grit through the challenges of our department and specifically looking out for the CRNAs but if you meet her I won’t have to.
8 Quick Questions to Get to Know You Better…
Top 3 hobbies/interests outside of work?
-My Family – I have two amazing children – My daughter is married and has blessed me with my first grandchild – Leo who is 16 months old and quite possibly the smartest and cutest little boy ever. My son is finishing up his sophomore year of college.
-Yoga, fitness and nutrition. I’m passionate about a healthy lifestyle. I have taken over 700 hours of yoga teacher trainings – my semi retirement plan is to one day open a retreat center.
-Travel! My husband and I enjoy traveling (and eating) our way around the world in search of that perfect place to eventually retire to.
Favorite thing to do in NH?
Hiking in the mountains in the summer and fall. Im always amazed by its beauty.
Mountains or Seacoast?
Seacoast! I love the water and the sounds and smell of the ocean air. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Still traveling around trying to find that perfect place. All I know is I want it to be warm with ocean views.
Hardest anesthesia concept in school to figure out?
Emergence – As silly as it sounds. We practiced inductions so much before starting clinical that I felt clueless about waking people up. For some reason, how to do it smoothly and well-timed seemed so difficult. Everyone had so many various techniques and styles that it took me a while before I figured out the timing of it all.
Pedi or Adults?
Adults! My absolute favorite is Thoracic Anesthesia. I love the challenge and complexity of those cases.
CRNA you look up too? WHY?
I don’t know if I can pick just one. I truly look up to all of my colleagues. They all offer something different to the team. I’m continually grateful to work with such a smart and talented group of people.
Top 3 bucket lists items?
1. Travel the world – make it to all 7 continents and MOST of the countries out there.
2. Road trip across the entire US – visit every state and experience one signature food for each place I go.
3. Learn a new language.
One piece of advice you’d like to impart to future CRNA’s?
Never turn away advice. You can learn something from everyone…from ALL your anesthesia colleagues, students, nurses, surgeons and patients. They all may see things from a different perspective than you do. If you allow yourself to always be open to hearing what others have to offer, you will open yourself up to learn things that can shape your practice and make you better. I’ve been doing this for 11+ years now and not a day goes by that I don’t learn some amazing juicy bit of knowledge. Thats what’s so wonderful about this job.