Our Faces of TxANA series shines a light on the work of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and offers a perspective on how CRNAs positively contribute to our state’s health care system.
This month, we invite you to meet T’Anya Carter, CRNA. Ms. Carter shared her thoughts on her practice, the importance of continuing education, the role TxANA plays in advancing the profession of nurse anesthesia, and her work with the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN).
Why did you do it, T’Anya?
T’Anya’s commitment to her profession and to her patients is second to none. We wanted to know why T’Anya pursued a career in health care, nursing and - eventually - nurse anesthesia. Her response? Pretty straight forward:
“My mother told me I was born to be a nurse. So I guess I just went with it,” said Carter. “I think she was right because all of my life I have been helpful. It makes my day to know that I have helped someone in some way.”
T’Anya was a candy-striper (volunteer) in her local hospital during high school, her very first introduction into nursing and what nursing care involves.
“After my experience in high school, I went to college knowing I wanted to be a nurse. I spent the first four years of my career working in the Emergency Department and then worked the subsequent five years in the Surgical ICU,” explained Carter.
When asked why and how T’Anya chose to pursue a career in nurse anesthesia, her answer was straightforward: “I had a friend who decided he was going to be this thing called a ‘Nurse Anesthetist.’ I was very unfamiliar with this subset of nursing but after he explained what a nurse anesthetist does, I was hooked,” said Carter. T’Anya describes it as the “best thing” she’s done in her life.
A word to the wise
Thinking of pursuing a career in nurse anesthesia? T’Anya tells it like it is. “I would advise a prospective CRNA to be certain they understand the responsibility that comes with the profession. It extends far beyond the operating room and into the communities in which we live,” said Carter.
T’Anya says she’s grateful for people who have helped her along her career path, and she feels it is her duty to help someone else. Her “pay it forward” attitude has made life more fulfilling for her.
T’Anya practices as needed in the Dallas area right now as she focuses on her PhD at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). “My dissertation focus is determining the barriers that prevent CRNAs from returning to work after treatment for substance use disorder.”
The focus of T’Anya’s dissertation is a passion for her beyond graduate school and is an area where she dedicates considerable time in a volunteer capacity as a member of the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN). TPAPN is an alternative program to discipline, helping those nurses who are battling either substance use disorders, mental health issues or both.
“As a member of TPAPN, my role is that of an advocate for nurses, meaning I act as an extra layer of assistance for nurses going through the process of getting their lives, especially their professional lives back on track,” Carter explained. “I take phone calls from the participants and mainly listen and provide advice when asked. Many people are dealing with feelings of shame and guilt, and it is nice to have someone listen to them who is not there to judge them, only to be supportive.”
Why does T’Anya take an active role in her state association? “I am a member of TxANA because I believe in our association. It is important for CRNAs to not only be members of our professional association, but also to be active in the association. Our predecessors made things possible for us. It is our duty to make even better things possible for the association and the next generation of providers,” said Carter.
Life away from the office
When not at work or working on her PhD, T’Anya enjoys walking with her spouse and taking their dog Nina through the park together and tossing her the ball. T’Anya also gives back to the larger community by volunteering to make sandwiches for the homeless in Dallas. She’s also a huge fan of all things baseball. Whether it’s watching her Texas Rangers play in person or listening to a game on the radio, it’s “take me out to the ballgame” for this TxANA member.