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Celebrating National Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants Week

By Jason Laury, MMSc, CAA, Co-Chief Anesthetist, TeamHealth Anesthesiology, Redmond Regional Medical Center, Rome, Georgia

During National Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants (CAA) Week from June 1-5, I feel especially thankful that my work as a TeamHealth CAA challenges me in the best ways. Each day I experience teamwork, intellectual conversations, critical thinking, multitasking, compassion and a network of Anesthesiology clinicians working toward the common goal of patient care and safety.

My story

I am thankful my past led me to my career path. As a ninth grader, I thought my Latin class was pointless, but I remember the banner at the front of the class said, “Repetitio est mater studiorum” or “Repetition is the mother of studies.” I did not understand at the time how true that motto would become in my life, but I did hope the science, math and Latin I was learning in high school would be useful one day.

My tall, lanky British high school soccer coach used to tell me when I felt like giving up, “Lad, you are the engine room of this team as the center midfielder. Your hard work now is what keeps this team operating smoothly!” And, then I would dig my cleats into the ground and push myself to my limit.

My mom had the greatest impact on guiding me. One evening after soccer practice, as I walked into the house, my mom had just arrived home after a full 12-hour shift in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). She was a Registered Nurse with more than 35 years of experience at that time. We both were exhausted from very different days. We sat in the kitchen to chat, lamenting over the high and low points. Little did I know, this would be the launching point of my professional career. She described to me that Emory University had a benefit available for free tuition for all employees and their children, and she said that I needed to work very hard on my grades in high school to be accepted. I told her I was up to the challenge. Then she interjected the real game changer. She said, “And, I set up for you to shadow an anesthesiologist on Monday.”

Finally, this was the path I was looking for. All of my classes pointed to medicine. The shadowing experience confirmed not only medicine but Anesthesiology as my path. Eleven years later, in August 2003, I graduated from Emory University’s CAA Program.

As I look back, I realize that school and sports prepared me for my profession as a CAA. Latin class, to my surprise, helped out significantly with medical terminology. Sciences and math trained me for critical thinking, problem solving and quantitative analysis. This profession has allowed me to express all the things I learned from my past.

Thank you, CAAs

As Anesthesiology clinicians, we are the “engine room” of the operating suite. The hard work of Anesthesiology clinicians across the nation is invaluable. Keep your standards high, aspirations even higher and reach for opportunities to be a better clinician and person. Happy National CAA Week. #CAAWeek

Currently, TeamHealth has Anesthesiologist Assistant positions available nationwide. Join a team that supports you and recognizes your impact in providing excellent patient care.