American Association Of Nurse Anesthetists
We are pleased to shine the spotlight on the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), an exceptional Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ (HNHN) Champion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new health and wellness challenges for nurses everywhere — and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are no exception. AANA recognizes this, which is one of the reasons it prioritizes wellness resources and initiatives during this time.
Well-Being During COVID-19
On AANA’s coronavirus disease hub, members and website visitors can find constantly refreshed resources like:
- Critical care resources
- COVID-19 well-being information
- Clinical practice resources
- Guidelines for resuming elective, non-urgent surgical procedures
- COVID-19 Medicare resources
But the COVID-19 Well-being section is where AANA’s dedication to member health and wellness truly shines. It’s all about supporting CRNAs to safely deliver patient care by maintaining the well-being of nurse anesthetists, their families, and the communities they serve.
“Our website has really resonated with our audience,” said Alyssa Rojo, MSN, RN, Research Analyst with AANA. “It’s accessible, gets a lot of visibility, and is regularly updated with topics dependent on what’s going on.”
The COVID-19 Well-being section focuses on staying well during the pandemic. It offers information on stress relief, mindfulness while wearing N95 masks, breath practice for frontline healthcare workers, resiliency, being furloughed, and much more.
Other resources AANA offers members specific to the coronavirus pandemic include:
- Support the Front: Free COVID-19 virtual peer support groups for healthcare professionals
- Wellness content produced by CRNAs, including podcasts, articles, videos, and more
- Free wellness services, like Headspace, Fitbit, Ten Percent Happier, and Happy App
- Links to other related articles and resources, such as HNHN Newsletter COVID-19 edition and the ANA’s COVID-19 Self-Care Package for Nurses
Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, AANA promotes health and wellness through its Health and Wellness Committee and Peer Assistance Advisors Committee (PAAC) as well as outreach within the state association by State Peer Advisors (SPAs). All are comprised of CRNA volunteers who provide support and resources related to all forms of wellness, such as:
- Substance use disorder (SUD)
- Emotional, mental and physical well-being
- Social responsibility
- Student wellness
- Wellness education and research
- Workplace wellness
The goal of the committees? To provide education and information that reduces risk factors (such as the occupational risk for SUD, stress, and other physical and mental disorders) and improve health and overall well-being.
AANA Peer Assistance and the AANA Helpline
One of the most important wellness resources AANA offers is its Peer Assistance Helpline (800-654-5167). CRNAs dealing with SUD can call the helpline at any time (it’s staffed 24/7) to get help for themselves or another CRNA or student registered nurse anesthetists.
“We’ve seen wonderful success with the Helpline,” said Julie Rice, BA, Manager, AANA Health and Wellness and Peer Assistance Programs. “Helpline responses provide support to address individual incidents such as safely addressing a drug diversion suspicion or impairment situation (do not leave the individual alone) along with information and guidelines for SUD treatment, information to access treatment programs across the country, and re-entry to work considerations.”
PAAC and the 60+ SPA volunteers are passionate individuals who offer ongoing peer assistance to support the SUD recovery of CRNAs, either from their own personal experience with SUD or as understanding allies.
The two committees also promote and participate in wellness activities at all AANA meetings. A dedicated Health & Wellness Hub in the exhibit hall at AANA’s Annual Congress gives members the gold treatment with activities like:
- Free chair massages
- Free foot massagers
- Hydration station with fruit-infused water, where HNHN’s Hydration Challenge was recently promoted
The Hub also hosts the popular Wellness Wheel; attendees spin the wheel and answer a question related to general and specific wellness topics. Participants get a prize (chip clips, lip balm, badge buddies with the number to the AANA helpline, etc.) and learn the right answer to the question if they got it wrong.
Ongoing Efforts to Be Well
Throughout all of this, AANA actively relies on HNHN to supply members with helpful, self-care resources. The organization is constantly featuring #healthynurse content on its websites, social media, within webinars, and at in-person events.
Aligning with HNHN is one of many ways in which AANA dedicates itself to the well-being of its members —day in and day out.
Learn more about the work of our Champion partners here and become an HNHN Champion.
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