We’re back with another profile from our Faces of TxANA, an opportunity to learn more about the CRNA profession and the work and leadership of some of TxANA’s most active members.
This month, we invite you to meet Masson Farmer, DNP, CRNA, FASPM, who also serves on the TxANA Board of Directors. Masson shared his thoughts on the important role CRNAs play in our health care system, as well as insight into why he chose the profession.
Who, What and Where
Masson Farmer, DNP, CRNA, FASPM, who works for Northstar Anesthesia tells us, “After completing my fellowship training, I am enjoying incorporating the most current advancements in perioperative pain management into my patient’s anesthetic and serving as a resource to my colleagues.”
Continuing education and supporting future CRNAs is also an important part of Masson’s career. He also serves as adjunct faculty at Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia, and he is busy developing regional anesthesia content for upcoming fellowship cohorts.
You hear it often: CRNAs are often the sole or primary provider of anesthesia care in rural communities. That’s why Farmer says he most enjoys incorporating new regional anesthesia techniques which are on the forefront of regional anesthesia practice and providing those cutting-edge services to his patients in rural practice.
Added Farmer, “I am most proud to serve as a resource in regional anesthesia to my colleagues and to teach them the new techniques I have learned through the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship.”
Farmer says he was first attracted to a career in health care because his mom is a nurse. “My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer between my junior and senior year in high-school, and within 6 months of his diagnosis passed away from his metastatic cancer,” said Farmer. “During the 6 months that my dad battled his illness, nurses provided him with alleviation from suffering, and I decided at that point that I wanted to alleviate suffering for my life’s work. At the time, I did not know exactly how I would end up specializing in just that.”
Farmer acknowledges he wasn’t familiar with the extensive work and role CRNAs play in a hospital or health care setting at first. “I did not know what a nurse anesthetist was until I experienced my first ‘Code Blue’ as a nurse, where the CRNA responded and calmly intubated the patient,” said Farmer. “This mysterious figure would continue to reappear every time a terrible situation was occurring in my hospital and handle the airway of the patient with ultimate poise and composure.”
As he spoke to colleagues at the hospital about returning to graduate education, a friend who was a vascular surgeon told Farmer he’d be happy to serve as a reference on his medical school application, but then his friend added, if he could do it all over again, he would be a CRNA. He then contacted a CRNA whom he worked with and arranged for Farmer to follow her.
Farmer said his sub-specialty in anesthesia came out of a progressive change within the science of anesthesiology. “I began my regional anesthesia career utilizing nerve stimulator and landmark based regional anesthesia techniques in 2012. One of my colleagues introduced me to ultrasound guided regional anesthesia, and I became fascinated with being able to see exactly what I had been blindly sticking with a needle before.”
Through his continued education, Farmer enrolled in the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia’s Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship, and he finished with the first cohort of Fellows in July 2018.
Career Path & Support
Farmer offered some simple advice for anyone contemplating a career as a CRNA, “Go for it, and don’t ever stop learning.” Farmer said one of his most influential mentors was his nursing professor, Dr. Ray A. Hargrove-Huttel, RN, PhD.
“The crux of her mentorship was about being accountable for your own practice and advocating for your patient,” said Farmer. Advice he follows to this day. “I was always expected to know the why, which drove further learning,” Farmer added. “Dr. Hargrove-Huttel was a great friend and mentor, and she had a tremendous impact on me as a young student.”
When he’s not practicing nurse anesthesia or continuing his education, he enjoys spending his free time with his wife and son.
“We recently achieved one of our long-term goals of purchasing our family ranch, and I am enjoying developing that land and spending time working and playing on the ranch,” said Farmer. “I also really enjoy building and working on projects, including building a pole barn and remodeling my grandparent’s 1964 Airstream Overlander.”
Farmer is not only a skilled CRNA, but he also loves cooking, especially smoking meats and making homemade pizza. “I enjoy playing my drum set and listening to music,” added Farmer. “One of my favorite things to do is to work on a project and listen to podcasts.”
Advancing the Profession
Why did Masson join TxANA? “I am primarily a member of TxANA because I am grateful for the hard-fought advancements made by the generations of CRNAs before me,” he said. “I inherited the fruits of many hours of their volunteer advocacy, and I want to honor that gift by leaving the profession in better shape than when I entered into it.”
Farmer added, “CRNAs are the free market answer to the challenges that America and the world faces with meeting the anesthesia demands of a growing aged population.” Farmer wants to work to ensure there are no unnecessary limits put on a CRNA’s practice.
“I believe volunteering through TxANA is the best possible way to be a patient advocate, and we are advocating with the backing of truth and facts,” said Farmer.