Nurse Anesthetists: Always There, Caring for Illinois since 1880

Jennifer Greenwood
Updated 1/3/2019 12:12 PM

Libertyville, IL-- They have been administering anesthesia to Americans since the Civil War, and now Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) from Libertyville, IL are joining thousands of their colleagues from across the country to celebrate the 20th annual National CRNA Week January 20-26, 2019.

The profession of nurse anesthesia has roots in Illinois from as far back as 1880 when Sister Aldoza Eltrich trained with open drop ether at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. With a trusted history spanning more than 150 years, CRNAs are dedicated to knowing their patients and staying with them throughout their surgical procedure. CRNAs administer their patient's anesthetics and monitor their vital signs and address their physiologic responses. Each year CRNAs ensure that millions of patients receive the safest anesthesia care possible.


"As CRNAs, we administer anesthesia to patients undergoing any type of surgical procedure. From orthopedics to open heart, and from labor and delivery to major trauma, nurse anesthetists apply the same high standards of care," said Jennifer Greenwood, CRNA, PhD. "It is a privilege to be part of a profession that is so dedicated to advancing anesthesia patient safety and ensuring that patients have access to surgical, obstetrical, emergency, and pain management care, especially in rural and other medically underserved areas of our nation."

CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses who safely administer more than 45 million anesthetics in the United States each year. As the primary hands-on provider of anesthesia care in both civilian and military healthcare settings, CRNAs practice in every type of facility where anesthesia is required for patient care. That includes but is not limited to hospital operating and delivery rooms; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, and plastic surgeons; pain management centers; and all U.S. Military service branches, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

National CRNA Week was established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) to encourage CRNAs to educate the public about anesthesia safety, questions to ask prior to undergoing surgery, and the benefits of receiving anesthesia care from a nurse anesthetist. This year, the Illinois Association of Nurse Anesthetists (IANA) has undertaken a month-long schedule of events in order to celebrate nurse anesthetists. To learn more about them, visit: or