April Spotlight – Kate Hodge MS, CRNA
Kate became interested in medicine and nursing at a young age. Her mother was a nurse in a variety of settings over her long career, but mostly in a pediatrics office. Kate always valued the care that her mother gave to her patients, and it became something she chose to do with her own career. Kate attended The University of New Hampshire right out of high school where she received her BSN in 1999. She learned about CRNAs towards the end of her nursing school from one of her clinical preceptors, but it wasn’t something she aimed to do right away.
She worked for two years as a Med-Surg nurse where she gained invaluable time management, prioritization, and normal system assessment skills. Looking for a change, she ended up working in the ICU at Elliott Hospital where they had a great critical care internship. During her first year in the ICU her decision to continue her education and become a CRNA was solidified by a case she was able to be involved with. A young patient had a ruptured spleen, and the OR nurse got a flat tire on the way in. Kate went into the OR and assisted the anesthesiologist with blood product administration and cared for him through the rest of her shift.
Kate enrolled in The University of New England’s School of Nurse Anesthesia in 2003 and began her practice of anesthesia in early 2006 at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont. Over the next 8 years, she continued to learn from many mentors, CRNAs and physicians alike. Kate was always interested in being involved with as many challenging opportunities as possible, and her pediatric skills were fostered in this setting. Kate also realized her love of teaching in the clinical setting. She was able to work with SRNAs as well as medical students on their anesthesia rotations. She received the first ever Betty Wells CRNA Teacher of the Year in 2014, an award voted on by medical students throughout the year.
When her children reached school age, she and her husband decided to return to NH to be closer to their parents. The seacoast was always the area that drew them, and a position at Portsmouth Regional Hospital made that a possibility. She started her career in Portsmouth during the summer of 2014 and has been in this position since then. Although the change from medical direction to ACT with supervision with a lot of independence wasn’t something that she was necessarily looking for, it has become one of the reasons that she loves the work she does at Portsmouth. She has served as the Chief CRNA for many years and like many others in the area, Covid brought changes and challenges to her anesthesia department. Because of this, Kate’s work as chief has changed and grown as a result. With a staffing model restructuring, Kate has been able to be involved with recruiting and increasing privileges to the full scope of practice for the CRNAs at Portsmouth. “It has been very rewarding to be a part of a positive change for CRNAs”. In addition to all this, Portsmouth became a site for SRNAs from her alma matter UNE in 2019, allowing her to continue her love for teaching, mentoring and learning from everyone she works with. Her own practice has grown so much in the last several years due to all of the different students, CRNAs and physicians she has had the opportunity to work with.
What Her Colleagues Say About Her…
From the first meeting with Kate, you immediately recognize that she is different. Her warmth and kindness put others at ease while her quiet strength lifts up those around her. Kate has earned the esteem of her peers by being an expert in her field as well as an advocate for others at Portsmouth Regional Hospital (PRH). She is a preferred anesthesia provider among all the surgical specialties and services. As a result, she was chosen to represent CRNAs as Chief Nurse Anesthetist.
As a leader she has fought for full scope of practice for her fellow Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists in an effort to elevate the already excellent care provided to all patients at PRH. Her efforts have included facilitating education opportunities and improving recruitment and retention among staff. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that Portsmouth Regional Hospital attracts the best and brightest CRNAs. The NH Seacoast is lucky to have incredible providers like Kate that strive to provide the best anesthesia care.
Getting to Know You…
1. Top 3 hobbies/interests outside of work?
a. Skiing with family and friends. There is nothing like the sun shining on you in the middle of winter, and the rush of following my children’s turns down any slope to put a giant smile on my face
b. I’ve gotten into more hiking lately, and find it so rewarding. Watching my dog live her best life running up and down the trails and enjoying a PB&J sandwich at the top while taking in the views is a perfect day for me.
c. Listening to music. When you can find the music that feeds your soul, whether its the words or melody, there is nothing like it. I long for the days of live music, and love that we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, hoping I might be able to see my favorite band again this year.
2. Favorite thing to do in NH?
Camping on my father’s property on Webster Lake has become one of my favorite summer activities. The quiet and calm of the early mornings, paddle boarding or kayaking, or just floating in the water, followed by a campfire with s’mores in the evening was our respite last summer from all of the stresses of this last year.
3. Mountains or Seacoast?
Despite the fact that I live close to the seacoast, the mountains call to me. That’s the best part of NH, the ability to have mountains, the ocean, and also all the lakes within an hour’s drive.
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I haven’t figured this out yet. I have so much more traveling I hope to do. My husband and I hope to travel the country in an RV for months at a time, after our kids are out of the house. But NH will always be home. I love all the seasons, so I could never live in an only warm climate.
5. Hardest anesthesia concept in school to figure out?
I am sure there were many of them, but it’s rather blurry at this point. The concept that really shocked me was that there are so many different ways to provide a really good anesthetic.
6. Pedi or Adults?
Pedi. It is so rewarding to connect to a child and their parent and help them have the best experience possible during a scary time.
7. CRNA you look up too? WHY?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the foundations in anesthesia that I learned from Bob Buchholz at Concord Hospital in 2004-2005. I hope that I am half the preceptor he was to the students I work with now.
8. Top 3 bucket lists items?
1. See the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks
2. Ski out west
3. Explore national parks with my family
One piece of advice you’d like to impart to future CRNA’s?
You can learn something from every anesthesia provider that you work with, even if what you learn is that you don’t like to do things a certain way. Continue to learn and grow throughout your career from the people that you surround yourself with.