Southeast Nursing Alumna Thriving as Nurse Anesthetist

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2013 Southeast graduate Kaitlyn Brown is now a practicing CRNA at Mercy Hospital.

The nursing program at Southeast Missouri State University has a long tradition of propelling graduating into outstanding careers in the healthcare industry.

One such alumna, Kaitlyn Brown of Jackson, Missouri, graduated from Southeast in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She continued her education at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where last May she completed a doctorate of nursing practice in nurse anesthesia.

On attending Southeast:

I chose to attend Southeast because it is close to my hometown of Jackson and I realized that I could get an affordable education there.

Southeast has a really good nursing program in terms of the different clinical experiences they offer. The have faculty that care about you. I feel like Southeast prepared me really well for a career in nursing with a variety of different specialties. It prepared me for graduate school. I felt really prepared when going in for my doctorate.

What she does now:

I currently work at Mercy Hospital in Washington, Missouri as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). A nurse anesthetist is a Master’s or doctorally prepared nurse who administers anesthesia to patients in a variety of settings, whether that be in the operating room or in the delivery suite giving epidurals. They do a lot of work for outpatient clinics for colonoscopies and dentists, things like that. A nurse anesthetist can practice independently or with anesthesiologists.

On her passion for nursing:

I chose nursing because I realized that I wouldn’t get as much one-on-one time with patients if I chose to be a physician like I originally intended. I knew there would be lots of advanced nursing options for me if I decided to pursue an advanced education and become more specialized.

Knowing that people are able to have surgery or a baby and be able to have that procedure done and either never know it happened or not feel immense pain during it is the best part of my job. My absolute favorite part is when I wake a patient up from surgery and I get to tell them that it’s all done.

Her goals for the future:

I would like to be able to use my skills to help other people on medical mission trips. I would like to get more proficient at nerve blocks, which are a newer technique of pain treatment for surgery.

Memories from Southeast:

I was president of the Southeast Missouri State University chapter of the Student Nurses Association and president of the Missouri Student Nurses Association. Both were run by Desma Reno, an assistant professor at Southeast who was a great mentor to me.

My favorite memories are of getting to know my fellow nursing classmates and Desma Reno when we went to the American Student Nurse Association conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. We got to network with other nursing students and nurses, and it was a lot of fun.

Advice for Southeast students:

There are so many different nursing specialties, so don’t feel like you’re stuck with just one. If you get a job and you don’t like it, don’t feel stuck in it. There are so many diverse opportunities in nursing for you to find something that you love.

Southeast offered me opportunities for growth as a person, student and professional. I met my husband there. It’s a great place to grow as a human being as well as prepare for a future career. Your time in college is short, so don’t focus too much on the little things. Work hard in class, and enjoy the people around you.

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