Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Uses Identity to Help Connect with Patients: Hispanic Heritage Month

Source: Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Date: September 23, 2022

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AUSTIN, TX—The Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists (TxANA) recognizes and celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and the strives made by its members of Hispanic and Latino identities.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with graduate-level education who enjoy a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. CRNAs provide anesthetics to patients in every practice setting and for every type of surgery or procedure. They are the sole anesthesia providers in nearly all Texas rural hospitals and the primary anesthesia provider to the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Jason Gonzalez, a CRNA practicing in Abilene, TX, has been serving patients as a CRNA since 2019.

“I received my B.S.N. in 2014 from Abilene Christian University and began working in an intensive care unit (ICU) as a new graduate before starting CRNA school in 2017,” Gonzalez said.

After completing his CRNA program at Texas Wesleyan University in 2019, Gonzalez returned to the hospital in Abilene, where he began his nursing career.

“Abilene is a city with a population of about 125,000 residents with 27 percent of them being Hispanic,” Gonzalez said. “There are not many Hispanic or Spanish-speaking healthcare workers in our operating room. So, I take pride in being bilingual and being able to assist with translating for pre-op assessments and consents.”

Gonzalez grew up in McAllen, a Texas-Mexico border town in the Rio Grande Valley. As the second of three children of a single mother, he began working at an early age to support himself and his family.

“My dad was not present in our lives, so my mom raised us, and we moved around a lot,” Gonzalez said. “Neither of my siblings finished high school, but for some reason, I did. I had my first job at age 15, sacking groceries at H-E-B. I knew the struggle, sacrifice, and hard work all my life and believe it has shaped me into who I am today.”

Gonzalez’s mother not only raised him but instilled a passion for nursing in him that he would carry into his professional career as a CRNA.

“My mom has practiced nursing for 30 years now but started her career in a day surgery center,” Gonzalez said. “She first met and learned of CRNAs in that setting, and as I grew up, she would advise me to try to pursue that career.”

Gonzalez celebrates his mother as a critical role model who worked hard so that he could focus on his studies and continue his education. He also celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with his wife, Mitzy, and children Sophia and Lucas.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is a symbol of representation for me,” Gonzalez said. “Growing up in a predominantly Hispanic town, I took it for granted. Now that I have moved away and have children, it is important to me that I share with them the culture I was raised in. I am proud to be Hispanic, and we celebrate through music, food, traditions, and storytelling.”

Gonzalez emphasizes the importance of staying diligent when it comes to the studies of nurse anesthesia.

“Ask questions if you don’t know the answer to something,” Gonzalez said. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. There are no shortcuts. Work hard, be patient and never give up.”

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About TxANA

Advancing patient safety and the profession of nurse anesthesia, the Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists (TxANA) was founded on Aug. 9, 1974. Its goals include facilitating cooperation between nurse anesthetists and the health care profession, hospitals, healthcare providers, and other agencies interested in anesthesia. The membership is limited to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and Nurse Anesthesia Students who are members of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

Nurses were the first professional group to specialize in and provide anesthesia services in the United States in the 1880s. Today there are over 59,000 CRNAs practicing throughout the United States, of which more than 5,000 are located in Texas. CRNAs are advanced practice nurses registered by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). CRNAs must hold a current state license as a registered nurse, graduate from an approved educational program, successfully complete the certification examination and comply with continuing education requirements for recertification. Learn more at www.txana.org.