Compassion & Collaboration: Sasha’s Role as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

A professional headshot of Sasha Griffith, CRNA on a navy patterned background.
Sasha Griffith, CRNA works on the surgical team at South Shore Hospital.

Early in her nursing career, Sasha had the opportunity to work alongside several terrific certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) – interactions that piqued her curiosity.

“The job sounded so amazing,” she said. “The attention to detail, the autonomy, and the skill set that CRNAs must master…it fueled the fire to make me apply to school.”

Part of her education to become a CRNA included a clinical rotation as a nurse anesthesia student at South Shore Hospital, which she enjoyed due to the variety of surgical cases and strong anesthesia team.

After rotating to additional clinical sites and completing her education, Sasha Griffith, CRNA returned to South Shore Hospital, where she now works in a role that is complex, challenging, and rewarding.

Bringing years of pediatric experience to her role

Prior to becoming a CRNA, Sasha spent the entirety of her nursing career caring for patients at a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) in Boston.

“Caring for children means you care for the entire family,” she said. “It’s a balancing act of rapport and trust with the family and a skill set that’s tailored not just to a tiny person, but to a newborn or infant.”

Her experience in that setting has served her well in her current role as a CRNA, where trust, communication, and precision are key.

“We communicate openly with the surgical team and with the patients regarding their wishes for the anesthesia,” she said. “Simultaneously, we build a safe and trusting rapport with patients during what most would consider an anxiety-inducing situation.”

Caring for the patient, from preparation through follow-up

For the average patient, the process of actually receiving anesthesia may take just a few moments – but a great deal of behind-the-scenes preparation and research lead up to those moments.

“As CRNAs, we comb each patient’s chart for pertinent information,” said Sasha. “This could be any number of things, including comorbidities, allergies, past medical history, or current labs.”

All of those pieces come together to form a puzzle that is unique to each patient and procedure.

“We work with other members of the surgical team to create an individualized anesthesia plan,” she said. “Each plan is appropriate for both the patient and the specific type of surgery.”

CRNAs administer anesthesia, monitor patients during their procedures, and escort patients to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) once a procedure is finished – something Sasha particularly enjoys.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see your patient thriving and pain-free in the PACU,” she said. “It’s really awesome when you helped relieve anxieties in the short time before the procedure…that ability to connect with someone is the best!”

Providing comfort and calm during challenging situations

In most cases, patients have ample time to prepare mentally and emotionally for a surgery, with procedures scheduled days or weeks in advance.

However, there may be times where an unexpected or emergency surgery is necessary – which can be extremely stressful and scary for patients and their loved ones.

In these cases, CRNAs play a key role as both communicator and caregiver, reassuring patients and loved ones while also ensuring the patient is ready as quickly as possible.

Sasha recalled a recent situation involving a young patient who came to the hospital due to a post-procedure problem that required surgical intervention.

Due to a variety of factors, including the patient’s age, it was a nerve-wracking situation – but Sasha still found time to comfort and reassure both patient and parents.

“I have a child at home that is the same age,” she said. “I approached the patient the same way and with the same level of care that I would have shown to my child.”

“I offered the parents some assurance and a hug,” she continued. “I told them I would take very good care of their child and I would come back to check in once the procedure was done.”

That kindness had quite an impact, with the patient’s parents sending a heartfelt note to Sasha in the days after the procedure.

A supportive and collaborative team

During the clinical portion of her education as a nurse anesthesia student, Sasha completed rotations at multiple facilities – but South Shore Health’s anesthesia team was one of the things that drew her back here upon completion of her studies.

Today, Sasha still enjoys the same encouraging and communal atmosphere that she experienced during her clinical rotation.

“The anesthesia team at South Shore Health is top notch,” she said. “Everyone is so willing to share the nuances of anesthesia…the team really makes you feel that no question is silly.”

“Everyone wants each other to get better and be successful in practice,” she continued. “I feel super fortunate to have trained here and to now work alongside some of the best providers I have encountered.”

If you’re interested in a career that offers complex cases in a community setting, we encourage you to browse current CRNA openings.