New Anesthesia Machines, Expert Team Provide Gritman Patients Coordinated Care
Patients won’t feel a thing during their surgery if Greg Bauer has anything to say about it.
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Bauer is one of four anesthesia providers at Gritman Medical Center, and one of thee on the team who hold national certification in Non-Surgical Pain Management. That means he’s ensuring a patient’s heart rate, respiration and other vital signs are met throughout a procedure when they are most likely unconscious or without feeling in a portion of their body.
That lack of awareness means the Gritman CRNA team is doing their job, devoting 100% of their one-on-one care and attention to patients during a surgical procedure. Collectively, the CRNA group that also includes John Schirmer, Dustin Gill and James Hug has more than 60 years of anesthesia experience.
“We have a great team as far as anesthesia goes,” Bauer said. “They’ve been hand-selected, all having similar motivations to stay at the top of our game.”
In addition to provider experience, that excellent care is due in part to investments in technology by the hospital to ensure patients are being looked after using the most advanced equipment. The CRNA team practices on new GE brand anesthesia machines installed in each of Gritman’s four surgical operating rooms.
“Our four new anesthesia machines are the most state of the art in the area,” said Cynthia Knudtson, Materials Management Director for the hospital.
The anesthesia machines regulate chemicals and gasses that either keep patients asleep or numb during a surgery. They are paired with new Gritman investments including ultrasound devices used for pain relief blocks and IV pumps that allow Gritman surgeons, anesthesia providers and nurses to deliver advanced surgical and recovery care for patients in the region.
Along with new patient monitoring and other instruments, Knudtson was able to negotiate a better price for the equipment, saving money for patients and the hospital. She said it’s exciting to bring these kinds of advances and amenities to Gritman in the service of patients.
“For a small hospital and the types of surgeries that we do, we’ve gained a lot of clarity and the ability to see what’s going on with the patient in real time,” Knudtson said.
The new anesthesia stations are identical from room to room, allowing providers to treat patients completely, with regional anesthesia that only numbs a portion of the body, or with both methods as the specifics of each case may demand. Regional anesthesia is a big component of the services CRNAs provide—up to two-thirds of all surgeries at Gritman involve a case where only part of the body is numbed, improving chances for a better recovery and outcome.
“Gritman Medical Center offers some of the most sophisticated opportunities for patients to receive care that I have been around in the country,” Gill said.
Hug agrees. The newest member of the CRNA group, Hug is thankful to have the “latest and greatest tools” that are typically only seen at larger medical centers.
“I would confidently say that our team gives the best anesthesia care that can possibly be given,” Shirmer said. “Our patients are in good hands. We’ll be with them before the surgery, during the surgery and in some cases even after the surgery to meet all of their needs.”
The CRNA team also performs procedures like epidural steroid injections and trigger point injections through Gritman’s Interventional Pain Clinic. Those procedures are key elements of Gritman’s coordinated care environment—anesthesia providers work individually to develop a pain plan that also considers pre- and post-surgery scenarios—helping patients easily navigate their health care journey to healing and recovery.
Pictured at top: Gritman’s team of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists has more than 60 years of experience. They include John Schirmer, James Hug, Greg Bauer and Dustin Gill, each working on state-of-the-art GE anesthesia machines.