Two faculty at CHP selected as American Academy of Nursing fellows

Four faculty members from Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Health Professions and School of Nursing will receive one of the most prestigious honors in nursing this fall when they are inducted as fellows of the American Academy of Nursing.

The faculty members were among 250 nurse leaders selected to join the academy’s 2022 class of fellows. The inductees will be recognized for their significant contributions to health and health care at the academy’s annual Health Policy Conference, set for Oct. 27-29.

The VCU CHP faculty to be inducted this year are: 

  • Stephan Davis, DNP, the executive director of inclusive leadership education and assistant professor in the Department of Health Administration and assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College of Health Professions. Davis is a registered nurse, a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, fellow of the National Academies of Practice and a fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
  • Jiale (Gary) Hu, Ph.D., an assistant professor and director of research and global outreach in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia at the College of Health Professions. Hu is a registered nurse.

Read more about the four VCU faculty selected as fellows on VCU News.

Dreaming Big: Amber Coleman ’18 Building a Brand Beyond the OR

Amber Coleman standing in front of anesthesia equipmentGraduate, pass the National Certification Exam, get certified, practice as a CRNA.

It’s a path to success and personal and professional advancement for many VCU Nurse Anesthesia graduates. Yet Amber Coleman, a 2018 alumna, simply had a different path in mind.

Since gaining certification (“That test is expensive, so I was only doing it once”), she’s practiced as a CRNA at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News. And while passionate about anesthesia and building her specialty, she also views it as a stepping stone: to mentoring others in the field, to writing books, to building businesses, and to showing her two currently young children how to build a solid foundation in their own lives.

Coleman recently self-published a children’s book, Amber Dreams of Anesthesia. The story mirrors her own journey: a young girl receives a birthday gift, the game “Operation,” and becomes fascinated with the human body. The cartoon Amber begins to explore healthcare, looking up “people who help you feel comfy during surgery” on a tablet and coming across the anesthesia specialty (in real life, kid Amber was looking through a set of old encyclopedias when she stumbled across the word “anesthesiologist,” and she never turned back).

In the book, the young Amber falls asleep and into a deep dream about becoming a nurse anesthetist. Readers pick up a simple education on the path to becoming a CRNA and many of the ways in which they provide care – such as for obstetrics, or in general surgery.

“This book is about planting a seed in kids early,” Coleman says. “They don’t have to do to anesthesia or even go into healthcare. It’s just about having a dream, coming up with a plan, and doing it.”

Coleman is clear that while the book is not specifically aimed at young Black and Brown readers, but rather all children, she hopes it resonates with those in communities of color, which are underrepresented in healthcare jobs. “Representation matters, and I do have a responsibility as a woman of color to help those who look like me blaze a trail in the field,” she said.

Coleman paused her career as an ICU nurse in 2016 to pursue her nurse anesthesia education at VCU. She and her husband and then two very young children relocated from Hampton to Richmond. He commuted to work in Newport News. They had no family in the area to support them at the time, “but we made it work.” The VCU experience, Coleman says, changed her life, and gave her the foundation for a stable and rewarding career path.

Coleman is also one of 10 alumni heading up the Addie Pontiflet Scholarship at VCU Nurse Anesthesia. Pontiflet, who died in 2007, was an assistant professor of nurse anesthesia at VCU. The annual award will be given to students with preference in those who have demonstrated interest in equality, diversity or social justice for the African American community through community activities, social groups, student clubs or organizations. The scholarship also asks that students show active membership and involvement in professional nurse anesthesia-oriented organizations and activities that focus on racial and ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusion, and serve on the VCU Nurse Anesthesia’s DEI committee.

“The candidate has to be passionate,” Coleman says. “I don't care if you mentor or if you go into education, you have to be willing to give back.”

Beyond the book, she’s partnered with her brother to start a trucking company. She’s writing a second children’s book on financial literacy. And she and her husband dabble in real estate investing, too.

And most importantly — balancing the work of a CRNA, part-time author, entrepreneur, and investor — Coleman is sure to make time for their two children, aged 9 (girl) and 7 (boy).

How does she handle it all? “You have to balance and be passionate about it. Find your passion, be positive, make a plan, and remain persistent,” she says. “With these steps you are guaranteed to succeed and along the way elevate others.”

“Like I tell our kids: ‘Dream big.’ ”

For more on Amber or to purchase her book, visit her website.

Give to the Addie Pontiflet Scholarship.

Visit VCU Nurse Anesthesia’s Giving page and be sure to select “Addie Pontiflet Scholarship” in the drop-down menu.

Research program promotes implementation of crisis resource management principles in anesthesia

VCU Nurse Anesthesia begins research to understand, promote implementation of crisis resource management principles in anesthesia practice 

The VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia is starting a research program with their academic and clinical collaborative partners to understand and promote the implementation of crisis resource management principles in anesthesia practice. The research program has been funded by the state grant of Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation.  

The practice of anesthesia is complex and dynamic, and the decisions taken by anesthesia professionals are associated with various risks, many of which cannot be anticipated and may lead to adverse patient outcomes. Crisis resource management plays an important role in delivering safe and effective patient care. The overall purpose of these funded projects is to understand and promote the implementation of crisis resource management principles in anesthesia practice.

Medical error has been identified as one of the leading causes of patient adverse outcomes or even deaths in the country. Multiple studies found more than 80 percent of medical errors are related to non-technical skills (i.e., cognitive and interpersonal behaviors) of health care professionals. Crisis resource management (CRM) is a set of non-technical skills needed to effectively manage all available resources at hand to execute the care as planned and respond to problems that arise.

Since 1999, the VCU CHP Department of Nurse Anesthesia has provided a simulation-based CRM training program to more than 700 nurse anesthesia graduate students and more than 70 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists in the Center for Research in Human Simulation and provided six onsite CRM simulation training workshops to interprofessional perioperative teams in Virginia health institutes.

Northam Visits Nurse Anesthesia

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday, along with leaders at Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health, stressed the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and of training frontline health care workers in remarks made to reporters during a visit to VCU’s College of Health Professions.

Northam, M.D., received an in-depth tour of the college’s eight-story facility that included stops in the departments of Health Administration, Occupational TherapyNurse AnesthesiaRadiation Sciences and Medical Laboratory Sciences. He also observed some of the research taking place in Physical Therapy while meeting students, faculty and staff. Susan Parish, Ph.D., dean of the college, Arthur Kellermann, M.D., senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System, and members of the dean’s office accompanied Northam during his visit.

“[Frontline health workers] are doing amazing work and to be able to train individuals that will go into the workforce is so important,” Northam said. “We found during COVID-19 how difficult this work is, day in and day out. People did an amazing job, not only in Virginia, but across this country. I commend all of our health providers across Virginia for doing the good work, and keeping Virginians as safe as we can.”

During the tour, Northam and Parish spoke about the college’s strong reputation, increased enrollment and nationally-ranked programs. Additionally, Parish said the opening of the building in 2019 allowed the college to increase its capacity for educating future health care professionals.

“Truly, the excellence of our college and its programs is because of the integration we enjoy with the VCU Health System,” Parish said. “The college has shown courage and professionalism throughout times of uncertainty, and I couldn’t be prouder of what we have accomplished.”

Nurse Anesthesia and Radiation Sciences collaboration strives for having nuclear medicine technologists add to the vaccine giving capacity within the US


L. Harold Barnwell                                                                           Mark Crosthwaite


 Harold Barnwell, III, DNAP, CRNA, of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia, and Mark H. Crosthwaite, CNMT, FSNMMI-TS, of the Department of   Radiologic Sciences, partnered on  "TSCOVID-19 Vaccination: An Overview and Education Tool for Nuclear Medicine Technologists."  The article appears in the March 2021 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology.

Read the full article here.