Memphis, MO— In recognition of their profession’s long history and enduring record of patient safety, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in Memphis and across the country are celebrating the 14th annual National Nurse Anesthetists Week, January 20-26, 2013, with this year’s theme of “Quality and Excellence in Anesthesia Care.” Established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), National Nurse Anesthetists Week was created to encourage CRNAs to take the opportunity to educate the public about anesthesia safety, questions to ask prior to undergoing surgery, and the benefits of receiving anesthesia care from nurse anesthetists. The theme of this year’s campaign emphasizes the high standards which CRNAs adhere to when administering anesthesia. “One of the many rewards of being a nurse anesthetist is providing patients with the comfort of knowing that I will be by their side monitoring their vital signs and adjusting their anesthetics to ensure a pain free and safe anesthesia experience,” said Sallie Poepsel, MS, CRNA, APRN. “National Nurse Anesthetists Week serves as an opportunity to inform the public exactly what CRNAs do and who we are,” said Michael Browning, MSN, CRNA, APRN, one of the staff nurse anesthetists at ScotlandCountyHospital in Memphis, MO. Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses who administer approximately 33 million anesthetics in the United States each year. Practicing in every setting where anesthesia is available, CRNAs are the sole anesthesia professionals in the vast majority of rural hospitals and have been the main provider of anesthesia care to U.S. service men and women on the front lines since World War I. “I take pride in belonging to a profession that has been at the forefront of anesthesia patient safety for 150 years. CRNAs play a key role in developing trends related to monitoring technology, anesthetic drugs, and standards of care. In fact, due to continuing research and education, anesthesia today is nearly 50 times safer than it was 20 years ago,” said Robert Poepsel, MS, CRNA, APRN, who is also a staff nurse anesthetist at ScotlandCountyHospital.