Association of Veterans Affairs Nurse Anesthetists (AVANA)
In 1973, twenty-six (26) VA CRNA’s created AVANA. From the beginning, education has been our first priority. In 1974, the first educational workshop was held in Des Moines, Iowa. Annual educational symposiums have continued in various locations nationwide.
• Promote quality and safe anesthesia services to the veteran patient
• Provide continuing education for VA nurse anesthetists
• Enhance communication among all VA nurse anesthetists, members of the medical and nursing profession and those persons and organizations impacting the VA Health Care System
• Support the recruitment and retention of nurse anesthetists
• Endorse utilization of CRNA skills to the maximum breadth of their clinical scope of practice and education as well as departmental management and administration
• Encourage academic excellence with use of evidence-based practice
In 1972, Ms. Bonnie Winters, CRNA at the Westside VA Hospital in Los Angeles, California contacted every VA station and listed all nurse anesthetists, their supervisor, job description, individual responsibilities, step, grade and years of employment. Then at the AANA meeting in 1973, 26 VA CRNAs met and organized the Association of Veterans Administration Nurse Anesthetists. A constitution and set of Bylaws were drawn up. Among these founding members were Phyllis Roberts, the first President of AVANA, Romona Doran and Bonnie Winters. Ms. Winter’s data was compiled and used as documentation to open up Chief Grade for all nurse anesthetists to attain and the position of Chief Nurse Anesthetist. Before this time Nurse Anesthetists were grouped in the same pay schedule as nurses. This required the passage of four legislative bills and many trips to Central Office and Congress, usually at personal expense, to lift the ceiling that most nurse anesthetists were at.