Nurse Anesthetist Profile – Nick Angelis, CRNA, MSN
Bachelor’s in Nursing from Youngstown, 2004
Master’s in Nursing from the University of Akron, 2010
As a nurse anesthetist, Nick Angelis has been able to combine two of his interests: science and writing. He currently works as an anesthetist for Panhandle Anesthesiology Associates in the Pensacola, Fla., area. When not providing patient care, Angelis can also be found writing. He blogs about healthcare careers for websites like Squeezing the Bag. He’s also the author of How to Succeed in Anesthesia School (And RN, PA, or Med School), and is currently at work on a second book about anesthesia school.
Question: How did you decide to become a nurse anesthetist?
Angelis: “I was interested in communication and theater but realized I would need money to buy food, and I’ve always loved science, so I thought nursing and anesthesia would be a good mix of those skills.”
Question: What has helped you become successful and competent in your career?
Angelis: “I became an agency nurse working at different hospitals and learned that I became a better practitioner if I was willing to work in a variety of specialties. It stretched my brain to leave the ICU and solve problems on a med-surg floor, the ER, and even psychiatric and sub-acute facilities. Because each facility had different protocols and rules that I never had the time to learn, I had to focus on my clinical skills to properly care for my patients.”
Question: What do you enjoy about your career?
Angelis: “The ability to identify a patient’s problem and instantly fix itÿinstead of calling another health professional or wading throughÿmounds of paperwork and bureaucracy. I like the combination of chemistry, physiology, and patient care knowledge needed for safe anesthesia.”
Question: What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had, either as a student or in your professional career?
Angelis: “Most of my memorable times are horrific tales of desperately trying to save someone’s life, so I’ll give a more mundane example. I had a cranky patient as a student nurse who wanted an extra cup of coffee. I really didn’t have time to fulfill her capricious demands, but decided to be nice since it was still early in the day. As soon as her gnarled fingers hugged that hot mug, my patient’s whole demeanor changed.ÿI had a pleasant day and she transformed from a petty and demanding patient into a grateful participant in her care. The incident taught me to look beyond current circumstances and your schedule for the day and meet patients where they are.”
Question: How did you get into writing? What are your books about?
Angelis: “My wife was signing a contract with a publisher to write a book about natural medicine, andÿwe wanted to know what she was getting into. By the time she started the process I’d learned enough to try it myself. I competed nationally in writing contests when I was younger, but I took a 10-year break to become an anesthetist before I tried it again. How to Succeed in Anesthesia School (And RN, PA, or Med School)ÿis actually my third book: I wroteÿa collection of short stories and a book of skits and plays before I decided to tackleÿthe more substantive subject of healthcare careers.ÿ My writing style remains silly and ridiculous. My current project is a more detailed guide specifically about anesthesia school that I’m writing with an expert in the field.”
Question: What advice do you have for people just starting their education or their professional career?
Angelis: “Don’t go to an expensive school unless you know exactly what you want and they’re the only ones that have it. Narrow your choices gradually: it’s much easier to transfer credits if you decide to be a respiratory therapist instead of a nurse as opposed to switching majors from pharmacy to fashion. Finally, talk to people in the profession you’re interested in and see if you can follow them around for a day before you start taking career-specific classes. Along that line, don’t talk too much.”