CRNA Week Spotlight: Carol Fennell

by Danielle Beebe
January 25, 2019

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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.
CRNA Carol Fennell has worked in operating rooms all around the world—sometimes even for free—but Nebraska Medicine has always been atop her list.
Fennell followed her husband and Marine Corp officer, Dan, to Okinawa, Japan, where he was stationed from 2009 to 2012. Fennell had been working as a CRNA for five years and didn’t want to lose her skills or license.
She volunteered via the Red Cross on the military base in Okinawa, along with one other CRNA who also was a military spouse. The two worked together to staff the on-base operating room, sometimes working as volunteers, and sometimes job-sharing on contract.
"It was an honor to take care of our military members and their families--especially when we all were so far away from home," Fennel said. "We became each other’s family."
Eventually their time in Japan came to an end and the Fennell family could return to the United States. She hoped to return to Nebraska Medicine where she previously worked as a CRNA from 2004 to 2006.
"I absolutely love the practice for nurse anesthetists at Nebraska Medicine," she said. "I love the independence CRNAs have, as well as the camaraderie between anesthesiologists and CRNAs."
Unfortunately, no jobs were available at the time, so she and her family took an opportunity in Michigan. Fennell kept in touch with Tim Glidden, director of nurse anesthesia, with hopes of one day returning to Nebraska Medicine. A year and a half later, her wish was granted.
Now you can find Fennell working as the CRNA lead in the Fritch Surgery Center at Lauritzen Outpatient Center.
"Fritch is a beautiful, patient-centered facility that has a fast pace with rapid turnover in cases," Fennell said. "I know all of my colleagues at every level. We have great camaraderie and have a lot of fun."