CRNA Week Spotlight: Mike Hamilton

by Danielle Beebe
January 24, 2019

Image with file name: 20190111_CRNA_Week_Michael_Hamilton.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.
As a former police officer, a Navy reservist and a CRNA, Michael Hamilton has only ever chosen careers with great societal responsibility.
Hamilton first pursued a career in law enforcement. He graduated from the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center at age 24 in 1997. His six-year career grew from traffic and service calls to investigations. The job included exposure to many social ills that plague society, including poverty, violence, and addiction. The worst, Hamilton said, was seeing children affected by these issues.
"It’s a difficult job and I have a lot of respect for those who make it their life long profession," Hamilton said. "Twenty-one years later I can still remember addresses because you would go to some of the houses on literally a daily basis."
Next, Hamilton tackled the world of healthcare. He started as a certified nurse assistant and anesthesia tech at Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Lincoln while attending UNMC-Lincoln to earn his Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
"Many of the nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists would pull me aside during the day to share their knowledge with me about what they were doing," he said. "I was hooked."
He worked as a registered nurse for two years, then earned his master’s degree in nurse anesthesia from Bryan LGH in Lincoln. Hamilton said he has loved to call Nebraska Medicine home since 2010.
"When you care for challenging patients with the latest technologies alongside regional experts in so many fields, I really go home at the end of the day feeling like I made a difference for my patients," he said. "I also enjoy teaching the next generation of nurse anesthetists and paying forward the education others gave me. I do believe if you can provide anesthesia care at Nebraska Medicine/UNMC, you can provide care anywhere."
And provide anesthesia anywhere, he did. At age 40, Hamilton had the opportunity to expand his career and societal contributions even further by serving in the Navy as a commissioned officer. For the past five years, the job has provided Hamilton the opportunity to travel all over the country and participate in unique experiences, such as a training mission where his team provided free medical clinic, dental, and ophthalmic care to an underserved population.
"I am a better practitioner and leader because of it," he said. "It was such a rewarding experience."