Published on August 18, 2020 by Sara Roman  
Patrick Haltom

Patrick Haltom, a third-year nurse anesthesia student in Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, was selected by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Education Committee as the 2020 AANA student writing contest winner for his submission Moving Beyond Socialization: Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist Professional Role Formation.

Haltom selected the topic because he feels the transition from being an expert critical care nurse to a novice student registered nurse anesthetist can be a challenge and disheartening for many students. “Students may sense that others in the operating room disregard their valuable experience as a bedside nurse, and as a result, student registered nurse anesthetist may lack confidence in their clinical abilities,” said Haltom.

According to Haltom, many nurse anesthesia programs rely on role socialization to ready their students for the role of a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). “Role socialization may assist students in functioning like a CRNA and provide a necessary scaffolding for performance in the operating room, but this process falls short of encouraging students to analyze and formulate their professional identities as future CRNA,” he said.

Instead of focusing on role socialization, Haltom suggests focusing on the development of the student’s individual professional identities through self-discovery tools. Through strengths assessments, emotional intelligence and encouraging student involvement, Haltom says nurse anesthesia preparation programs can aid students in discovering their unique professional identity and how it relates to the professional characteristics and standards of a CRNA.

Haltom was recognized during the AANA Annual Congress held on August 16 and his work is scheduled for publication as a student news column on the national organization’s website. This is the first time a Samford student has been selected for this honor.

“When a critical care nurse returns to graduate school to become a nurse anesthetist, it is challenging to move from expert back to novice. Patrick expresses the issues and potential strategies to address them eloquently,” said Terri Cahoon, associate professor and Department of Nurse Anesthesia chair. “We are incredibly proud of Patrick and he is much deserving of this recognition.”