Our Faces of TxANA series shines a light on the work of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and the TxANA staff. Each and every day our TxANA members and staff are working to advance patient safety and the profession of nurse anesthesia.
We invite you to meet Martha Vera, DNP, CRNA, our member and Chair of the Public Relations Committee. Dr. Vera shared her thoughts on the important role CRNAs play in our health care system, as well as insight into why she chose the profession.
The Joy of Being a CRNA
Dr. Vera currently serves as the Director for Nurse Anesthesia at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX. “I really enjoy pediatric anesthesia, and I also know I have the best group of colleagues. I am most impressed by how many of my coworkers have adapted despite a multitude of stressors and are not only dedicated to providing excellent pediatric anesthesia, but also to caring for each other”.
She has always expressed an interest in healthcare and began by working as a surgical technologist where she quickly learned about the role CRNAs play in anesthesia care. There she met several CRNAs who were willing to share about their profession and be a mentor through the process. “The OR has always felt like home, and I am so thankful to practice at my highest capacity in that environment”.
When asked what advice she would provide someone interested in a career as a CRNA, Dr. Vera stated “Caring for others during some of their most vulnerable moments is both a privilege and a tremendous responsibility. People are literally placing their life, or their child’s life in your hands. Training for this profession is not easy, so my best advice is to never doubt your ability to succeed. If you have the drive and the passion to accomplish this goal, you will find a way to do so, and there are many CRNAs who can serve as invaluable mentors to guide you during this process and throughout your career”.
Impact of COVID-19 and Pressing Issues
The global pandemic brought challenges to healthcare and the practice of nurse anesthesia. CRNAs are a vital part of the response to this pandemic. Dr. Vera expressed being fortunate to have a workload and responsibilities that remained steady throughout the pandemic. In the pediatric population where she works, they do not see the same volumes of COVID-19 positive patients as compared to the adult population. “What inspires me during these times is seeing how people are coming together to overcome and navigate a new normal to our reality”.
While COVID-19 is still at the forefront of minds, there are other issues faced by the profession. Dr. Vera believes one of “the most pressing issues the CRNA profession faces is the constant infringement on our scope of practice. We must work to protect our profession so we can continue to provide the safe and effective care that patients need and expect of us”.
Inside and Outside of TxANA
Dr. Vera offered some insight as to why she thinks being a member of the association is important for Texas CRNAs and the larger profession. She said, “Being a member of TxANA and staying involved allows me to stay abreast of issues that can have a significant impact on my livelihood. A small investment of time and/or money is of paramount importance because TxANA protects our professional interests and the people at our association work tirelessly for us”.
When Dr. Vera is not working as a CRNA or volunteering time to TxANA, she is a dedicated mother fighting her own personal battles. Camila, at the exciting age of two, is continually growing and Dr. Vera enjoys how she is learning to see the world. After undergoing a complicated infertility journey, she states she is “truly blessed to have her”. It is important to Dr. Vera to be a resource and speak to others about infertility. In addition to her battle with infertility, she was recently diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma that was causing primary Cushing’s disease. She has since had a successful surgery and is working on physically recovering.
In addition to being a mom, Dr. Vera enjoys reading, cooking, salsa dancing (Fun Fact: Salsa dancing is how she met her husband!), and occasionally putting her Peloton to good use. She also enjoys traveling and is eagerly awaiting to safely do so again. “Overall, I would say I lead a full and busy life outside of my work responsibilities”.