CRNA Week Spotlight: Alessandro Preto

by Danielle Beebe
January 22, 2019

Image with file name: 20190111_CRNA_Week_Al_Preto.jpg

Editor’s Note: National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Week is Sunday, January 20, through Saturday, January 26. To celebrate, the Department of Anesthesiology is featuring various CRNAs with unique personal and professional stories.
Twenty years ago, CRNA Alessandro Preto, moved to the United States from Brazil with $200 in his pocket. Now he’s an American citizen with a family and an advanced medical degree.
In 1999, Preto traveled from his hometown of Canoinhas, a town of about 53,000 in southern Brazil, to a farm in Minnesota for a summer internship. At the time, he was planning to pursue veterinarian school in Brazil. His host family persuaded him to stay and attend college in the United States. Preto changed his Visa from work trainee status to student, took English language classes and began his educational journey—all the while working on the farm to put himself through school.
"Living the American dream beyond the 2000s is still possible and I’m a testament to that," Preto said. "I didn’t do this alone, people helped me at every step of the way. I have them and God to thank for where I am."
The international tuition fees of veterinary education nudged Preto into the healthcare field. In 2007, he not only earned his Associate Degree in Nursing, he married his wife, Kayla, the daughter of the farmer who sponsored Preto’s farming internship in America 12 years earlier. The couple now have three children, Adriana, 8, Vivian, 5, and Kevin, 10 months.
The pursuit of higher education took the family here and there over the years, from the Midwest to California and back again. Preto was eager for a challenge, and work as a CRNA seemed to fit the bill. After working two years in Nebraska Medicine’s ICUs, and two years at Mount Marty College, Preto graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. He rejoined Nebraska Medicine as a CRNA in May of 2018.
"I wanted to come back to a place that would challenge me and allow me to grow," Preto said. "From my experience in the ICU at Nebraska Medicine, I could see that everyone was willing to teach."
Preto looks forward to more opportunities to learn from the experienced CRNAs, physicians and staff, as well as help educate the next generation of healthcare providers. UNMC and Nebraska Medicine’s team atmosphere felt like home.
"I really enjoy the fact that we are a cohesive group of doctors and CRNAs," he said. "We have a common goal which is taking care of patients, and growing our knowledge and skills."