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(Denison, IA) – Charles R. “Reggie” Elam, IV, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH), has earned his Ph.D. in Health Related Science from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. Prior to his Ph.D., Elam received his doctorate of nurse anesthesia practice, also from VCU, where he studied the infection control practices of anesthesia personnel. He has been a member of the medical staff at CCMH since 2015.

Elam earned a post-doctoral fellowship grant for his research in patient safety from the Foundation of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

“Over six years, I studied the respiratory outcomes of postoperative outpatient surgery patients, hoping to improve understanding of how anesthesia may affect patients several days following discharge home,” Elam explained. His findings have been published in the International Journal of Patient Safety, with pending publications in additional journals in the near future.

Elam says he plans to continue research into clinically applicable patient safety topics, hoping to improve the already-safe provision of anesthesia care.

“My research interests include anesthesia for patients living with obstructive sleep apnea, substance use disorders, and chronic pain conditions,” Elam said.

The credential CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) came into existence in 1956. CRNAs are anesthesia professionals who safely administer more than 33 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). Nurse Anesthetists, the first healthcare providers dedicated to the specialty of anesthesia, have their roots in the 1800s, when nurses first gave anesthesia to wounded soldiers on the battlefields of the Civil War. Though the CRNA credential was born in the 50’s, the field of practice has been around 150 years.

CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling healthcare facilities in these areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, pain management and trauma stabilization services. In some states, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100 percent of rural hospitals.