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At MNGI Digestive Health, we love to highlight the dedication of our healthcare providers. In celebration of National CRNA Week, we had the privilege of interviewing Lead CRNA, Annette Combo, about her journey as a CRNA with MNGI. Annette has been with MNGI since 2017 and is one of MNGI’s newest lead CRNA’s based primarily at our Maple Grove Endoscopy Center and Clinic.


Explore our interview with Annette to gain insights into the vital role CRNAs play in healthcare and discover the personal journey of one of our dedicated care providers:


Question #1-What are the primary responsibilities in your current position?


Providing a high quality and safe sedation during colonoscopy’s and upper endoscopies at MNGI.


Question #2-What aspects of being a lead CRNA do you find most fulfilling?


I have not held this position for very long, however, what I have enjoyed so far is that is another means for helping my coworkers. I take great pride in relaying information that will enhance or help in whatever that may be for my coworkers; anything that makes the CRNA’s, the nurses, the anesthesiologists, and the managers’ day better offering them my help/assistance. That is my goal.


Question #3-What important information would you want our patients to be aware of regarding CRNA’s? What’s one thing people might not know about CRNA’s?


CRNA’s require extensive ICU experience prior to being accepted into an anesthesia school. Plus, I believe by 2025 all nurse anesthesia schools will need to complete both the requirements for their Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, as well as the requirements for the National Certification Exam for nurse anesthetists.

I feel most patients don’t really know what a nurse anesthetist is or who provided their anesthesia. I feel we are the silent provider, for they are asleep when we are providing their anesthesia care. We have great responsibility, we are their lifeline. It can be sad they don’t know who we are or what we do. Not only are we giving anesthesia, but we are monitoring our patients constantly.

Technology for anesthesia has come a long way since I started in the 90’s! All for the better. It makes our job much less stressful since the tools are so much better and easier to use and the patients have a better experience.


Question #4-Share the story of how you entered the field? What insights can others gain from your experience?


I worked in an ICU for several years prior to going to anesthesia school. While I worked in the ICU I spoke to many CRNA’s as they would come through the ICU picking up patients, dropping patients off or intubating patients. Their job intrigued me, and it was at a time in my life I wanted broaden my nursing career and really loved the concept of taking care of one patient at a time. I applied and got into St. Mary’s Anesthesia program in Minneapolis. At that time, it was a Master’s program, but it has changed now to a Doctorate program, (DNP).

I love being a CRNA! I love providing a service to my patients that will give them comfort for whatever surgery or procedure they are having. It gives me great pride that I am able to provide a safe anesthetic to my patients. The best career decision was for me to become a CRNA. I feel my experience working in the ICU with the critically ill patients helped me greatly. It increased my knowledge and I gained great organizational skills which all helped me become a strong CRNA. It was extremely important and beneficial I had all those years in the ICU.


Question #5-What factors influenced your decision to join MNGI? What has influenced you to stay as long as you have?


I had friends who worked for MNGI so, I was able to receive firsthand information from them. They expressed how MNGI was a great place to work and that as nurses and CRNA’s, they are able to provide excellent care to their patients.

Truthfully, I love the people. We have great nursing staff, anesthesia providers, managers, and of course, we have wonderful GI providers!  I also am happy to feel I am part of making a difference in a patient’s life. I never really knew much about GI until I started here 6 years ago. I have gained an abundance of knowledge about GI and have great respect for our providers. I have learned so much and how debilitating some patents might feel when they come to MNGI. Once they get on the right treatments it is remarkable and can be totally life altering for these patients.


Question #6-Do you have any fun or interesting stories to share regarding your time at MNGI as a CRNA?


MNGI is a fun place to work at. Everyone seems to be in a great mood. Patients always say, “everyone seems so nice and happy.”, and I would tend to agree! I do have one rewarding story that comes to mind that I will share:

It was Dr. Philip Lowry’s last day, prior to his retirement. When he walked out of the Coon Rapids procedure room he was met by a nurse that put a gown over his shoulders like a cape/robe, then put a scope over his shoulders. They started to play the graduation commencement song and nurses and techs lined up against the hallway while he walked through. They clapped and cheered him on. - a look of surprise yet a big smile on his face. It was so fun to witness and celebrate someone’s career and years of accomplishments and commitment to MNGI.