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Wallena Gould, CRNA, EdD is a former Chief Nurse Anesthetist and Clinical Coordinator of five Nurse Anesthesia Programs. Dr. Gould is the proud founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program. Her journey has taken her from being a single mother on welfare as an undergraduate (EOF) student at Fairleigh Dickinson University (1990) to an Auditor position at Ernst & Young in New York City. Dissatisfied with the corporate position, she changed careers and enrolled in Gloucester County College for an Associate Degree in Nursing.
Introduced to Nurse Anesthesia while working as an operating room nurse for several years, Dr. Gould left thereafter to work in the trauma unit. She applied to La Salle University Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia and graduated in 2004. While a Nurse Anesthesia Student at La Salle University, the program was part of a cohort that was instructed by faculty with a shared curriculum with other Nurse Anesthesia Programs. It was obvious the faculty was void of minority Nurse Anesthesia faculty. A poster presentation was assigned in class to illustrate any anesthesia related subject that impacts the profession. Dr. Gould secured the statistics and demographics of Nurse Anesthetists in the country from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and displayed the disparity on the poster titled, “Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia”. According to the AANA (2002), of the 36,000 Certified Registered Nurses reported approximately 6% minority representation of practitioners in the country. This prompted her to start a local mentorship program in the Philadelphia area. The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program (DNAMP) now enjoys membership from 42 nurse anesthesia programs in 20 states and Puerto Rico.
The DNAMP sponsors Diversity CRNA Information Sessions across the country where a panelist of Nurse Anesthesia Program Directors, predominantly minorityCRNAs and SRNAs discuss the admission process, rigors of the program, clinical, didactic courses and more. Minority Nurses and Nursing Students attend these sessions to learn comprehensive information about the academic, familial, and financial preparedness to become a successful and competitive applicant and eventual nurse anesthesia student. Prominent leadership from the AANA has been consistent with our mission as they have been guest speakers for the Diversity CRNA Information Sessions. Past Diversity CRNA Information Sessions have been held at the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, St. Matthew’s Baptist Church Community Center (NJ), University of Southern California, Miami, University of Maryland, Duke University, and Northeastern University. Future Diversity CRNA Information Sessions will be located at the University of Pittsburgh, Duke University and Drexel University. The DNAMP sponsors Anesthesia Airway Workshops throughout the year for predominantly minority nurses from across the country learn about the details of the anesthesia machine, simulation of intubations, spinal and epidural placement and invasive line insertions. The DNAMP Board of Director CRNAs visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Schools of Nursing and urban junior/senior high schools on Career Days to discuss Nurse Anesthesia as a viable career option. Further,established partnerships with minority nursing associations to collaborate on panels on advancing the nurse anesthesia profession to their membership. A year-end graduation dinner for members (Nurse Anesthesia Students and CRNAs) is planned for those who successfully completed the nurse anesthesia program.
In 2007, Dr. Gould was nominated as a finalist for the Nursing Spectrum Nursing Excellence Award for the Mentorship Category. Dr. Gould is profiled in the Johnson & Johnson Discover Nursing Campaign website. In the same year, Minority Nurse Magazine wrote a featured article on The Minority Student Guide to Nurse Anesthesia Programs of which Dr. Gould was interviewed for the manuscript. Dr. Gould has presented for the New Jersey Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NJANA) on Diversity in the Nurse Anesthesia Profession (2007).
In March 2008, a presentation, Diversity and Inclusion for EOF Nursing Students Considering Nurse Anesthesia was made to the State of New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Associationin Atlantic City, NJ. In 2009, Dr. Gould was awarded three prominent distinctions: Outstanding Alumna for Achievement and Leadership Award from the Tri-State Consortium of Educational Opportunity Programs;Outstanding Alumna Award from La Salle University School of Nursing; and Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award as the Top National Winner as an Advance Practice Nurse. In 2009, as a speaking engagement for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), Dr. Gould presented on The Implications of Cultural Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Practice in SanDiego, CA. In September 2009, Dr. Gould was accepted as a member of Cohort 19 Wilmington University Doctorate in Education (Higher Education Concentration) Program.
In 2009, the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program launched the website, www.diversitycrna.org of which enjoys over 1.5 million hits to date. Strong networking and active dialogue interface on the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program Facebook page, moderated by Dr. Gould.
In 2010, Dr. Gould had speaking engagements for various organizations: The Minority Nurse Leadership Institute at Rutgers University, How to Start Your Professional Organizations; District of Columbia Association of Nurse Anesthetists at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington, VA, Promoting Diversity in the Nurse Anesthesia Profession; National Association of Hispanic Nurses Conference in Washington, DC, Hispanic Nurse Anesthetists: A New Frontier. In 2011, Dr. Gould was the recipient of the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nurses (Semi-Finalist) Award. In 2012, She was the recipient of the Thomas H. Kean Outstanding Alumni Award. Dr. Gould has published two articles for Minority Nurse Magazine, Culturally Competent Nurse Anesthesia Care and Guide to CRNA Admissions. She is also on the Advisory Editorial Board for Minority Nurse Magazine and moderator of the Nurse Anesthesia Forum on their website.
Dr. Gould completed the Doctorate in Education Program at Wilmington University with a concentration in Higher Education; research topic on the professional socialization of underrepresented minority nurse anesthetists and nurse anesthesia students (2012). Dr. Gould lectures on Cultural Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia and a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Honor Society and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is married with children and resides in New Jersey.
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