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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Entrepreneurial Boston Nurse Anesthetist Making a Difference on the Front Lines of COVID-19

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Janelle Sly-T Thompson
Janelle Sly-T Thompsonhttps://theinternationaltelegraph.news/
Editorial Rating: 5-AAAA, Primary Journalism Sector(s): Arts & Entertainment, Health & Wellness - Janelle Thompson is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and Musician.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are some of the most widely used Advanced Practice Nurses in the medical field, and also some of the most relatively unknown. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, CRNAs are anesthesia professionals who safely administer more than 49 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States and they have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for more than 150 years. In addition, numerous outcomes studies have demonstrated that there is no difference in the quality of care provided by CRNAs and their physician counterparts. In the aftermath of this latest iteration of the Corona Virus, CRNAs have found themselves on the front lines of caring for patients battling this disease and its sequelae. Enter Donnell Carter, CRNA. I had the pleasure of interviewing him in the midst of a shopping trip. Here’s how our conversation went:

Donnell Carter, MBA, MSN, CRNA

Can you tell me a little bit about your background as a Nurse and how you came to be a CRNA?

I’ve been in healthcare for about thirty years and it started out actually in the military where I was a hospital corpsman for about 4 1/2 years. After becoming a hospital corpsman and serving 4 1/2 years in the Navy, I got out and went in to college and went and got my Bachelor’s in Nursing at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. From that point on, obviously I worked for a little bit. Got some experience, got my critical care experience in Cardio-Thoracic surgery and went on to Anesthesia school back in 2005 and completed a program at Central Connecticut University. From that point on, I’ve been working in Boston, Massachusetts for pretty much my entire career. I’ve been a Nurse Anesthetist for just about 13 years. During that time, I went back and got my MBA with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I also hold currently 4 certifications in nutrition, because I’m very big into Health and Wellness. And I’m working on a Personal Fitness cert at the moment which I’m almost finished with. So in terms of like, the entrepreneurial aspect of doing things, I’m trying to do things outside of the healthcare field to kind of tackle new ground; and part of that is a passion in Health and Wellness. So pretty soon, you know, I’ll be hopefully offering a different service in terms of helping people control weight and get back to a healthy lifestyle.

Well that explains the sudden change in your social media! All of a sudden you went and got diesel!

(laughs) Workin’ on it, workin’ on it! Yeah, I’m a work in progress.

Donnell Carter – Working to be an example of Health and Wellness

Well, it’s definitely needed. For us in general and us specifically, especially for Health and Wellness. I’m also on that train, so that’s good to see! So, where are you currently practicing?

So I’m in Boston, Massachusetts right now and I’ve been here for my entire 13 year career.

Are you in a hospital? Surgery Center? Office based? What are you doing?

I’m in a hospital at the moment.

Have you always worked in the hospital setting outside of the military?

Yes, pretty much.

Are you an employee? A contractor?

I’m mostly a W2 employee.

You said mostly… so, you dabble? You moonlight?

I have dabbled, I’ve moonlighted. Not as much as I should, but I’ve definitely done it.

So what drove your decision to be (or stay) a W2 employee and how is that actually affecting your transition into the Health and Wellness aspect? Or has it at all?

You know, the reason why I stayed a W2 was mostly because of the stability I needed to kind of focus on other things. So, you know, most people who do, like independent practice, they’re very mobile, which is fine; but my lifestyle is not set up in that way for me to be mobile at the moment because I’m thinking of other things. In order for me to sit down and be able to focus, I can’t add on other things like having to up and move all the time to a new location, to get used to a new environment, new people, a new system. So I pretty much wanted to stay in a system that I’m familiar with.

Right now, I’m at a facility where the benefits are pretty good, so the benefits kind of outweigh the alternative of doing 1099 at the moment. Plus I have the stability that I need to be able to focus on things outside. So in terms of transitioning into the Health and Wellness aspect of it, being stable gives me that stability I need to kind of focus on those things because it is something that I definitely want to grow.

What have been the biggest changes to your practice since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic?

The biggest changes occurred after the operating rooms got shut down and there were no more elective surgeries. At that point, my particular facility, they were kind of ahead of the game. In terms of putting in protocols, repurposing their staff, building new systems, reengineering the hospital to be able to facilitate the onslaught of Covid patients. As Nurse Anesthetists, we were repurposed into the Intensive Care Teams, where it was led by the Intensivist, and it was made up of other disciplines too. So, I was in the same team with the Dermatologist or Surgical Resident, or what have you. ER Doc, or something like that… as well as other CRNAs. And we were also on the emergency airway teams too. So, those were the two biggest changes.

An ICU setup, including monitors, ventilator and IV Equipment

Of course, our shifts changed too. So we were doing a lot more call, a lot more weekends, a lot more longer shifts so that we could, first of all so they could keep us working! (he laughs) So we could get a paycheck. They were trying really hard to not lay us off. And they did a really good job at that.

Did you have to take call before that?

I do, but you know, it was voluntary. But (inaudible) it was kind of different. I was doing a lot more weekends. So my schedule really changed a lot. But since the operating rooms opened back up, things are kinda back to normal. Where we’re doing a normal full schedule, and we’re doing the backlog of surgical cases at the moment. So then we’ll see, because you know we’re having an uptick in the numbers again… so we’ll see in the fall.

Now, have you noticed any disparities between what’s being reported in the news and what you’re actually seeing first hand? You made some posts about PPE (personal protective equipment), with what you guys were having to do being on the “front line” taking care of these patients… Have you ever looked at the news like, “That’s not what’s happening” or “There’s more than that happening” or “It’s just totally different than what’s being reported”?

I think, for the most part, it was fairly accurate because in terms of what we were seeing at the hospital, we had a pretty high case number. We were one of the number one facilities that were taking on a lot of the patients in Massachusetts. So what we were seeing was pretty much what was being reported across the world. We talked a lot with docs in Italy and also China. So we were pretty much on par with what they were dealing with at the same time.

What was different from what was being reported was, you know, I think, the misinformation… it kind of misrepresented what was actually happening. And also, the political aspect of this too. Which has been a bit challenging.

What would you say were some of the misrepresentation that you were seeing, or heard?

Well, a lot of people don’t believe in the numbers and stuff like that. But what people don’t understand is that you know, that people are dying from Covid but they’re also dying from the pre-existing conditions and the complications of Covid. You and I work in healthcare, so we understand the sort of clinical sequelae that occurs like thrombotic disease, etc. etc. etc.

So, I think from a healthcare, a health provider standpoint who has an understanding of it, we could see how this disease devolves into other problems for patients. So, you know, what people think is that “well, no, people died of heart disease”, or “they died from strokes”. Yes, that’s true. People have died from that stuff. But those strokes and that heart disease, and those cardiovascular events or those pulmonary events were a direct result of contracting this disease, and also with us not necessarily understanding how to even manage this disease because it was something very new.

So you know, you had a lot of information coming from across the world, a lot of different therapies, you know, a lot of different trials and errors that we were undergoing to try to manage these patients. Plus, we weren’t, we just didn’t know what to do. So as a result of that, things happened. So, I just think that a lot of politics became involved and kind of skewed things a little bit.

This will be my last question unless something else comes out of here. What are some of the things you think need to happen in order to provide the safest care to your patients overall, and then also to maintain the health and safety of our practitioners? If any.

I think that you know, number one, a deeper understanding of this. And because this is very new, it’s going to take some time to study it. So I think what’s going to happen as a result of this is that I think there’s going to be a lot of retrospective studies that will kind of go back and look at how things were done – what worked, what didn’t work – and from that information, I think you know, there will be better information that will lead to better treatments, better therapeutics going forward because I think that this thing is here to stay. We just need to get it under control.

Another issue I think we have is the launching of a vaccine that is safe – that has been thoroughly studied and is deemed safe by the normal scientific measures that all drugs go through to ensure their safety before it’s released to the public. So I think an effective vaccine at some point will be very helpful in gaining control over it. I think that, you know, right now what we have is the, you know, the use of masks and social distancing and things like that to help us kind of control it. But there needs to be sort of a unified front and we don’t have the unity at the moment to gain control over it. If we were more unified in terms of wearing these things, and maintaining the distancing and the masks, etc., I think we’d have much, much, much better control over it until we can get ahead of it. Right now, we’re behind; and you know we’re scurrying for answers, which we don’t necessarily have at the moment.

I do think that there needs to be a change of leadership. A leadership that will, you know, put the scientists ahead of this instead of political aspirations and so forth. We need people that are going to be up front, that are going to be very direct and very honest with the way we need to move forward with this. But that is gonna have to start at the top. And from the top, the top has to listen to the people who actually specialize in this area. And that is the scientists and also the medical professionals who are looking at this thing closely.

Well I appreciate you taking the time! Is there anything you wanna add?

No…that’s pretty much it. You know, let’s just stay healthy. And then, in terms of the black community – I think with the disparities in the numbers of catching and our recovery from it, we really gotta take a hard look at that at the same time so that we’re not affected by this. And I think what we really need to look at as a community going forward – it’s not just with Covid but just in general – we gotta look at our personal accountability and responsibility for the health of our bodies and stuff like that so that we’re not suffering as much. You know, there’s the social aspect of healthcare disparities, the historical structural racism, etc; the poverty, the lack of access to healthcare, the disparities in treatment from healthcare providers and such. You know, those are the things that we can continue to fight to change. But the biggest bang for our buck I think, comes with our own personal responsibility in how we view ourselves and the health of our bodies and implementing the right behaviors and changes in that for ourselves, to either maintain a good healthy state or try to get back to a more healthier state so we’re not hit… we’re not taking the brunt of the disease in terms of the numbers and statistics.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. It’s always inspiring when someone who looks like me is Making a difference around the world.

    • We need more people on the front lines like you. Thank you for you selflessness each day!!! And thank you for your service.

  2. It’s always refreshing to hear from medical professionals on the front line, specifically those of the melanin variety. I’m glad you all touched on the misinformation surrounding COVID-19, and having conversations that aren’t politically motivated are usually the honest and insightful ones.

    I’m curious about his views on the treatment minorities, and lower class people are getting in major hospitals. Has he seen any disparity there.

  3. First and foremost thank you for your service and you’re continued service to the American people you are a true hero! This article was very informative and helpful I encourage everyone to read it. Thank you again for your time to educate and inform the American people.

    • Its satisfying to hear someone actually stating the difference between what politicians want to report versus what is actually happening out here. Most important thing is educating our communities about what to expect from COVID-19. Thank you for providing real input. Thank you for your service in the Navy.

  4. Great article. I appreciate how raw it was. Starting from a detailed background of experience and education to his thoughts on current events. It’s especially refreshing to hear a Doctor combining health and wellness along side medication. I look forward to a future update on what he’s created once he delves deeper into the health and wellness.

  5. This is a wonderfully written article and extremely informative on the changes that have been made within the medical industry. It touches on many points in respect to how the industry is making adjustments to maintain the needs of the patients and communities. It also confirms the political misinformation being disbursed to the public and the harm it is doing.
    Also, I would have liked to hear more about what the subject dabbled in with regards to health and wellness, and if/how it relates to the current battle against COVID-19.
    Well done Ms. Thompson

  6. Good read, and great to hear perspective from someone in the field and from black community. I definitely think as a people we must find ways to live healthier lives.

  7. Its great to hear someone state the difference between what’s actually happening out there with Covid-19 and to what the political parties want to push and report! Great job of explaining everything in detail! Educating everyone about what to expect and how real Covid-19 is and the expectations of trying to spread this are extremely important. Thank you for your service in the Navy!

  8. Utterly inspirational…and yes we do need to maintain better health; which is mainly taking Vitamin D3 pills to enhance our immune systems so we won’t need the vaccine…but all in all good article

  9. Great point of view from a black professional and great article…we as a community also need to maintain better immune systems and sustain a healthier life so we can prevent Covid19 symptoms…Great article

    • This article is truly amazing and extraordinary. Hopefully boosting the immune system in our bodies can make us safe and healthy.

  10. This was a incredibly informative read. I love how its it points out the issues and calls for the change in leadership.

  11. good upfront and honest interview. these are very trying times. continue to take care of each patient honorably despite the political things that are going on. thanks for a great job out there.

  12. I want to thank this healthcare professional and the many for putting their lives on the line to help others. It is very inspiring to read this because I am studying biology and hope to enter medical school.

  13. good upfront and honest interview. these are very trying times. continue to take care of each patient honorably despite the political things that are going on. thanks for a great job out there.

  14. Wow, this article was very informative and gave me insight on what essential workers in the medical field went through. I personally think that we do need to take COVID seriously and wear our ppe but also social distance. I also feel like it does start from the top. I feel like leadership is key to beating COVID-19.

  15. Absolutely well written article. It is very encouraging to see African Americans who are doing things the right way. You are a positive role model and an inspiration to others who are trying to settle into their careers and having a military back ground. Continue doing good things!

  16. It’s very motivating to hear someone on the front lines in the medical field dealing with the pandemic first hand to share an optimistic outlook for the months ahead. My dad has been in the hospital for almost 6 months and people like yourself have been the real heroes keeping them in good spirits, maintaining an atmosphere of calm and being a kind familiar voice to help our family members weather this storm. We salute you!

  17. This speak to the truth to the issues that the African American community faces during this pandemic it a phenomenal read.

  18. Great article, Janelle! I love how you keep your field on the map. 45 million surgeries annually is huge! Wow. It definitely highlights how essential anesthetics are to patient care. Thanks for the education. Knowing that the profession is 150 years old will come in handy someday, lol! You know how it is. You ask the most amazing questions. I can tell you did your homework on Dr. Carter. Hopefully he’ll give entrepreneurship a shot. I can see him running a staffing agency for anesthetics, nurses in general or a training/ mentor center. Thanks for contributing.

  19. It always does my heart some good to see someone still doing what they love in spite of the hate and hurt going on right now! We need more positive articles such as these to iut weigh the negative! Excellent journalism!đź’Ż

  20. One of the more pleasant problems associated with reading this article written by Janelle Sly-T Thompson, is how does one indicate that it goes beyond a normal 5 star score. The only thing to do frankly is to give her the credit that she deserves by acknowledging her work, hoping and looking forward to more from her. She literally took a medical professional to task and picked his brain for information that will enlighten every reader with a brief detailed understanding of  what a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists is and the complex duties associated with such title.

    She goes on to ask pertinent questions of Mr. Carter including about his background in the medical field that leads up to the climax of the story, which are the current events of the Covid-19 pandemic, patient deaths and getting an honest opinion from Mr.. Carter about Disparities between what’s being reported in the news and what He was  actually seeing first hand, His posts about PPE (personal protective equipment), with what he and other’s were having to do being on the “front line” taking care of patients, Has he ever looked at the news like, “That’s not what’s happening” or “There’s more than that happening” or “It’s just totally different than what’s being reported”?

    She asked great questions. Instead of it being an interview, it actually was an honest conversation coming from a medical professional, working  on the front lines, in one of the most hardest hit areas during this pandemic.

    This is the first of many article/stories perhaps books I hope to read from this writer/author. She captures the true essence of being a great writer/author that seem to possess journalistic and investigative reporting tendencies.

    This article is conducive to reading a mesmerizing book and not being able to put it down until the end. A five star book, of course, but with a quality that takes it to a place among the top writings of the author and placing it right at the pinnacle of her writings of this kind.

  21. One of the more pleasant problems associated with reading this article written by Janelle Sly-T Thompson, is how does one indicate that it goes beyond a normal 5 star score. The only thing to do frankly is to give her the credit that she deserves by acknowledging her work, hoping and looking forward to more from her. She literally took a medical professional to task and picked his brain for information that will enlighten every reader with a brief detailed understanding of  what a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists is and the complex duties associated with such title.

    She goes on to ask pertinent questions of Mr. Carter including about his background in the medical field that leads up to the climax of the story, which are the current events of the Covid-19 pandemic, patient deaths and getting an honest opinion from Mr.. Carter about Disparities between what’s being reported in the news and what He was  actually seeing first hand, His posts about PPE (personal protective equipment), with what he and other’s were having to do being on the “front line” taking care of patients, Has he ever looked at the news like, “That’s not what’s happening” or “There’s more than that happening” or “It’s just totally different than what’s being reported”?

    She asked great questions. Instead of it being an interview, it actually was an honest conversation coming from a medical professional, working  on the front lines, in one of the most hardest hit areas during this pandemic.

    This is the first of many article/stories perhaps books I hope to read from this writer/author. She captures the true essence of being a great writer/author that seem to possess journalistic and investigative reporting tendencies.

    This article is conducive to reading a mesmerizing book and not being able to put it down until the end. A five star book, of course, but with a quality that takes it to a place among the top writings of the author and placing it right at the pinnacle of her writings of this kind. Great Article….

  22. I learned a lot in this. Hooyah Dr. Carter! Navy pride! I look forward to seeing him take on his new endeavors. Thank you for this Sly-T. Great questions.

  23. This was very informative. Good to hear from a perspective of a colored person in the medical field. Great questions from Sly -T. A woman of many talents I see. Shout out to Dr Carter . Hooyah ! Navy pride baby! I look forward to his future endeavors.

  24. Great article, we need more people on the front like like you during this pandemic. And thank you for your service!

  25. Brother, first off, thank you for you candor and information. Our People do need to help get us out of our healthcare and wellness crisis… We can only rely on ourselves.

    Sister, thank you for this interview. Well written and great questions asked. Your style seems relaxed and I appreciate that…

  26. Love this article! And I salute this brother for his work and dedication. We all need to try to make a difference. Also want to thank Janelle Thompson for this great article very informative and well put together “salute”.

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