Get To Work Old Man!


David Avitar ArrowheadWell – it’s been several months now since passing boards and vacation time is over. Since November 1st 2006 the gainful employment thing has been happening in full stride. I could not be happier as a nurse anesthetist! All of the hard work and struggle is worth it more than double. There was a running joke about the last year of clinical rotations that goes something like this. “If you can make it through this gauntlet still standing you are a winner.” Let me explain.

Most graduate education is difficult. I should know, this last effort was a second post graduate degree. However, in nurse anesthesia education the stakes are higher and many people feel its their duty and privilege to make life difficult for the prospective candidate for the Certifying Nurse Anesthesia exam. The gauntlet that the student runs is like a small alley way lined on both sides with angry frustrated preceptors that are wielding long bamboo sticks. Any unworthy student trying to run down the alley is beaten from both sides as they try to make it through. You think I am kidding – well maybe the allusion is too graphic but the idea still holds. In the words of one old timer mentor, “Yup, we love to cull the herd!” So its taken me a little time to recuperate from the last two years of very hard work getting through clinical residency. All of the bruises are healed but the scares still remain.

Now I am one! One what you ask. Well now I am one of the mentors and the bamboo is put away.  You’re laughing I am hoping, yes? Actually I have been very fortunate and have been appointed to a faculty position at a leading Medical School that houses a nurse anesthesia program. Just little over six months ago I was a student and now I hold a faculty position with my own students to ed-u-ma-cate. I am humbled by the position I am in and having the time of my life. Love it! The perspective from the other side is of course different but I try to hold on to the kindness for others that suffering produces.

One of the questions that was asked of me during my interview process for the faculty position at the University of Southern California was how I would deal with a difficult student one who is not progressing or one that is not safe clinically. To be honest I do not feel that I am ready to deal with this case scenario and told them so. I can handle the new student and the ones that are a quick study. Maybe next year I will have a bit more experience to handle the difficult student. Just as an aside I do have many years of as a preceptor in another capacity so teaching and mentoring is not new for me.

So whats it like to be in practice now as a nurse anesthetist. Wonderful – I love my job and what I do. In our practice setting we work in a team collaborative practice with anesthesiology. The joint practice is great when the Staff are good. Every day is another learning experience which I can talk about in the future. For now I just wanted to touch bases with you and let you know that the NurseAnesthetist.org web site is still going strong. I will be recruiting new writers in the months to come and adding links that should prove helpful to the prospective CRNA or clinical resource for the practicing nurse anesthetist.

Your feedback is always encouraged so let me know what your ideas or concerns are. Thanks for reading.

Categories : General


  1. Olivia says:

    Congratulations on your accomplishment!
    Wear your scars as a badge of honor for your hardwork. Hope to run down that alleyway one day soon…

  2. David Godden says:


    Thank you and good luck to you!

  3. dawnlang says:

    Hi David,
    I’m so sorry that I am late to the party. I wanted to offer you my congratulations on a job well done. I never doubted for a minute that you would pass your boards but I can only imagine how happy you must be to have that behind you.
    Another congrats on your job as well as your teaching position, I know you’ll do great in both. I hope all is well and that you continue to contribute to this site for those of us who have barely made the first tentpitch on K2. I hope to read more from you and your endeavors as you continue on this journey in life.


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