Meghan Pattavina is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine (DACCPM). After four and a half years in the department, she accepted the role of Clinical Coordinator for Student Registered Nurse Anesthetists (SRNA) in the DACCPM, an accomplishment that she says is a huge step forward toward her ultimate career aspirations.
Meghan shares why she chose to pursue a career in health care, her experience so far and the advice she has for those with similar professional goals.
Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in Massachusetts?
I grew up in the Midwest, attended Villanova University for undergraduate school and Duke University for graduate school. I've been in New England for five years now (working at Mass General for four and a half of those years) and I absolutely love it here.
What has been the most memorable part of your experience in the DACCPM?
It’s the wonderful working relationships I have built with my fellow anesthesia colleagues. Many of my relationships with our surgical colleagues really stand out too, especially with the arthroplasty team. Building collaborative relationships with people I respect and admire in a clinical sense truly allows for a fun work environment, one in which we can also provide excellent care to our patients.
How has the transition been into your new leadership role as the SRNA Clinical Coordinator? What challenges have you faced and what do you like most about it?
I have been interested in working with the students for years, as well as improving the process for onboarding our students and ensuring a smooth introduction for them into the DACCPM. As we continue to advance the program, we’ve received a positive reaction from many fellow CRNAs and faculty.
Next year, we will have even more additions to the program, including simulation experiences, which will allow for clinical education as well as interprofessional skills development, particularly regarding functioning in the anesthesia care team model.
Overall, I have really enjoyed getting to know our SRNAs and watching them grow over the 20 months they spend in clinical with us. It is amazing to see the transformation as they become skilled and caring anesthesia providers!
What were your motivations for pursuing a professional life in health care?
I originally pursued a degree in business, but transitioned into nursing early in my studies. After being a neuro critical care nurse at Duke, I decided to become a nurse anesthetist. Caring for people during a stressful time, when they may be critically ill, is a unique position to be in for an anesthetist. As anesthetists, we have limited time to interact with our patients and family members, but in that short window, it is our job to make them feel comfortable enough to trust us to care for them completely during a vulnerable time. Showing compassion for patients, the love of my job and my confidence in my skills are important, not only as I provide anesthesia, but also as I mentor the SRNAs.
What is one piece of advice you would give a young person with similar career ambitions?
My piece of advice to any young person pursuing any career is to arrive with a smile on your face, always introduce yourself and have a strong work ethic. No matter which field you are in, those three things will get you farther than you expect and will leave you feeling proud of what you do.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I see myself still in the New England area providing clinical anesthesia. I would also like to pursue an MBA and continue pursuing my current interests of building a clinical educational program for SRNAs and generally improving their experience.