Boon finds right fit in Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Track

Strong academic record, warm welcome led Nashville native to UAB School of Nursing's CRNA program
By Jimmy Creed

As a registered nurse first assistant (RNFA) working in an operating room early in her career, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing student Ashley Boon, RN, MSN, CRNP/RNFA, got to know several certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and watch them work.

Boon, a senior in the School’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Track, was impressed with the critical thinking skills and assessment techniques the job of CRNA required and begin to think it might be for her.

“Working in that setting gave me the opportunity to meet and shadow several CRNAs,” said Boon, who also spent several years as an Intensive Care Unit nurse and nurse practitioner. “After shadowing them and being immersed in that environment, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

Ashley Boon SRNAAshley BoonWhen it was time to choose the school she would attend to earn her nurse anesthesia degree, the choice became clear to her pretty quickly.

She had heard great things about the UAB School of Nursing and its nurse anesthesia program. Her research told her it was academically strong, and she was impressed by its attrition and board pass rates. When she was welcomed by its faculty with open arms, her decision was made.

“The UAB School of Nursing came very highly recommended,” Boon said. “That’s what made me interested, and as I kept investigating, I knew it was the best fit. I got to meet with faculty members at different institutions, and the UAB School of Nursing faculty was so incredibly welcoming that there was no doubt it was the right place for me.”

That warm, friendly feeling has only increased throughout her time here as Boon has grown closer to her classmates, colleagues and faculty.

“Our class is a tight-knit group, and we spend a lot of time together,” Boon said. “The faculty is very involved in making sure we get not only the best didactic experience we can but the widest array of clinical experience we can as well. They try to make sure we see and do as much as possible and be involved in everything we can.

“They really care about us as people and our success as students. That is what drew me to the UAB School of Nursing.”

Boon, who serves as the School’s student representative to the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists (ALANA), believes it is also beneficial that faculty members have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences in their nursing careers to draw from as teachers.

“Each instructor has a unique individual background in the health care profession, and they also have different experiences as to what they specialized in as CRNAs in the operating room,” Boon said. “As we go through our coursework, the various perspectives they have to offer give us confidence that they can answer any questions or address any concerns we might have about anything we might face in the future.”

Instructor involvement, ease of access to advisers and program directors, and individual attention are only a few of the things that make the UAB School of Nursing Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Track great, Boon said.

Simulation labs that orient the student to the hospital and the operating room allow for the practice of advanced procedures such as central line and arterial line placement. Students receive important hands-on training and experience in performing spinal and epidural placement procedures and different types of regional blocks. They are also able to practice intubations before getting to their clinical sites, which is critical in their development as CRNAs, Boon said.

“It is a very well-structured program and the order of the classes we took allowed us to build on our basic knowledge and keep advancing as we progressed throughout the curriculum,” Boon said.

The Nashville native is very pleased with her decision to attend the UAB School of Nursing and would encourage anyone considering a CRNA career to do the same.

“I would do my best to make sure they knew all the great things about the nurse anesthesia program here,” Boon said. “I would tell them that I have had several friends who have graduated from the UAB School of Nursing, and they have all been incredibly successful in their fields. I would tell them that the entire faculty know us individually and care about our individual success.

“I would tell them they push us to be the best because they want us to be the most successful CRNAs we can possible be.”
Last modified on February 24, 2017

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