Our Faces of TxANA series shines a light on the work of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and offers perspective on how CRNAs positively contribute to our state’s health care system.
This month, we invite you to meet James Stockman, MSNA, CRNA, who also serves on the TxANA Board of Directors and was recently elected to the Nacogdoches Hospital District Board of Directors. Mr. Stockman shared his thoughts on his practice, the profession and the importance of TxANA as an advocate for CRNAs across the state.
CRNAs Play an Important and Unique Role
The Stockman household is filled with CRNAs, both James and his wife are CRNAs. James’ primary responsibility is nurse anesthesia at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, working for YPS Anesthesia. Together, he and his wife also contract with two surgery centers in the area, as well.
“The thing I love the most about my primary job at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital is the freedom it provides me to provide anesthetic care for my patients to full extent of my training,” said Stockman.
In many smaller towns and rural communities, CRNAs are the primary anesthesia provider.
“Nacogdoches has two hospitals which rely heavily on CRNA’s for anesthetic care. I would say every CRNA in Nacogdoches, not only those at our hospital, has a great relationship with our surgeons and that there is strong commitment to care shared by all of us,” said Stockman. “This commitment has allowed a bridge of trust to be built with both the surgeons and the hospitals. And that’s essential to our success in being able to provide the care we provide. In the end it is about our patients well being.”
Inspiration and Motivation
Stockman says he became interested in nursing because of his grandmother. She had cancer and James can remember spending a lot of time with her at the hospital. The one constant, Stockman says, was the nurse; always there and always doing what she could to make the experience as good as could be expected. I think that stuck with me as I started college.
“I wanted to be able to be in a position to help someone if I could. Ultimately, my interest in anesthesia was peaked when I was an aid in the emergency room at the hospital I now work at,” said Stockman. “It was late one evening, and I assisted the ER physician with an intubation that was difficult and ultimately he called the CRNA for assistance.
That CRNA is now a colleague, someone Stockman says he’s fortunate to get to work with. That CRNA entered the room and in the short order of about one minute he had the patient intubated. “I was dazzled by the skill,” added Stockman. “I asked the charge nurse later what physician that was. I was promptly told that it was not a physician but Nurse Anesthetist. I knew it was the career for me.”
Advice for Aspiring Nurses and CRNAs
Stockman said it simply and directly, “If you are interested in being a CRNA you should understand what the job entails. You’re not an assistant, and you are not someone's extension. You are your own practitioner. If you go into this career you have to be prepared to do all of it.”
Stockman advises anyone interested in a career as a nurse anesthetist to seek out a CRNA to follow so that you understand the realities of the job.
Stockman added, “Understand what you are signing up for. As for anyone else already on the journey, the only advice I would give would be just always remember why we are all here: to provide the best care possible for our patients. If you always keep that at the top of your priorities it will make for one of the most fulfilling careers there is.”
When he’s not at the hospital or surgery center, Stockman enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly hunting and working on his family’s land. “I try to spend time each day in study of the Bible to further my walk with Christ,” Stockman added. “Besides that I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids, we try to travel to different places when we can. My kids are particularly found of the zoo so we spend a lot of time there. We try to have one good fun trip a year.”
We asked James why he joined TxANA, the largest state association of CRNAs in the US. He spoke of the duty to give back and the importance of advancing his profession.
“I am a member of TxANA because the largest issues that affect our day to day practice happen on the state level. In many ways, because I work independently of a physician anesthesiologist, I feel I have a duty to give back and speak out for our practice,” Stockman said. “Being able to give back to a profession that has given me so much is a duty I feel compelled to fulfill.”
Stockman encourages all CRNAs in Texas to become a member of TxANA and lend their expertise and voice. “I feel that it is absolutely imperative for every CRNA to support the state association on whatever level they can,” said Stockman. “As the largest state association in the country we are at the forefront of practice issues that could reverberate across the country. It has been my great honor to have the opportunity to serve my profession on the TxANA Board of Directors. I encourage all CRNAs to get involved in some capacity even if it is just serving on a committee. We need every member engaged to effectively advocate and protect our practice in this state.”