Happy CRNA week to my fellow CRNAs!
There are many reasons to celebrate our profession. We all seek to make a difference in our patients’ lives, striving to relieve the anxiety and pain that accompany the surgical experience.
Recently, a number of us have stepped away from surgical suites and into our own private practice to treat chronic conditions of suffering. Hopefully, most of us are aware of the remarkable benefits of low-dose ketamine infusions, which can treat suicidal ideation, treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, anxiety, migraine, CRPS, peripheral neuropathy, and many other conditions. The AANA writes, “Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are on the forefront of administering ketamine to those suffering from severe depression and anxiety. Although ketamine is not a new drug (it has been used as an anesthetic for years), its application to depression is relatively new. It is administered in low doses at a slow rate.”
Ketamine’s rise is timely. Currently, suicide rates are at an unacceptable high. We all know someone who is depressed or anxious. The national opioid epidemic is a result of the fact that millions are suffering from chronic pain. Thankfully, there are more than 350 clinics administering low-dose ketamine infusions throughout the country, many of which are owned by CRNAs. We are leading the way in treating numerous debilitating conditions.
In my own practice, I’ve seen ketamine’s life-saving capacity firsthand. Once, during an interview on a morning TV show, I explained how ketamine is the only known treatment to immediately reduce suicidal ideations. A middle-aged female called our clinic, acknowledging to our staff that she was suicidal and intended to end her life. She believed, as suicidal patients frequently do, that there were no other options left. Thankfully, we had one more option to offer her. Within an hour of seeing me on TV, she was receiving her first infusion in our clinic. Her suicidal ideations immediately dissipated. We watched her story unfold and the stunning transformation that took place. Within a few visits, she was well-groomed and wearing makeup. Previously, this patient was unemployed due to her debilitating depression, but a year later, she is alive and thriving. She is now working, enjoying her family relationships, and taking control of her life again. We were able to assist her on her path to recovery by providing an invaluable, life-saving service.
Owning a clinic and offering ketamine infusion therapy has been an extremely rewarding endeavor. I would offer an important suggestion based upon what I’ve learned: I recommend that all patients be under the care of a psychotherapist while receiving infusions. The patients we treat have significant mental health issues. Ketamine begins a process of healing which helps patients open up about their feelings. Psychotherapists are trained in talk therapy and help patients navigate the underlying emotions of mental illness, optimizing their progress during infusion therapy.
As CRNAs, we value our professional autonomy and pioneering spirit. It’s a privilege to be a part of a group that’s dedicated to innovation and excellence in patient care. Owning your own clinic is a way to further your career and be a part of a significant movement. If you are interested in opening a private practice, we can help you. For more information please visit our partnership page.
Enjoy being celebrated this week. You deserve it!
Brian Mears, CRNA
CEO of Alleviant Health Centers