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.