Becky Rautenstrauch's Story

Becky Rautenstrauch of Attica, New York is no stranger to medical procedures. She’s had ankle surgery, back surgery and two knee replacements. Each experience left her feeling like she was just a number and fearful of hospitals.

“I have a real fear. I’ve had only bad experiences during IV administration and felt extreme nausea coming out of anesthesia with my surgeries. I’ve never felt like I was heard or that anyone was listening when I’ve tried to explain my concerns,” Becky explains.

That all changed ahead of a routine colonoscopy at Wyoming County Community Hospital where Becky was met with the care and compassion of her Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Erika Reakes.

“My CRNA looked me in the eyes when I spoke,” Becky recalls. “Instantly I knew I was safe and that she was going to take great care of me.”

When Becky first met Erika, she recalls a feeling of calmness that came over her. Erika’s kind and gentle approach put Becky at ease right away.

“I was no longer a number; it was personal, and I trusted her immediately,” Becky says. “I was sure I was going to be ok, and that Erika was going to be there during and after my procedure. All of my needs were met, and I knew she had my back.”

Being heard and feeling safe are of the utmost importance to Becky. Equally important is access to outstanding care. The Wyoming County Community Hospital is just a short 20 minutes away from Becky’s home and follows a more autonomous model that allows CRNAs to practice under the direction of a medical doctor, rather than an anesthesiologist. Knowing that CRNAs can practice at her community-based hospital is reason enough for Becky to remain a loyal patient.

“It was such a pleasant experience, a walk in the park compared to my other hospital visits and I owe that all to my CRNA. I can’t stress enough how comfortable and confident she made me feel.”

Moving forward, Becky says she will always seek the care of a CRNA for any medical procedures that require anesthesia.

CRNAs deserve not only your gratitude, but your support. They were put to the test during the pandemic, when they put their skill and compassion into action to provide critical care to patients suffering from COVID 19. Their specific training in airway management and ventilation put them on the front lines.

Despite their invaluable service, CRNAs are not recognized in New York. This affects the cost of healthcare and limits access to quality care, especially for patients in rural areas of New York state.

The good news is there’s a simple solution. CRNAs are championing a bill in New York that, when passed, will recognize CRNAs and expand the work they are allowed to do. This means high quality, affordable and accessible care for New Yorkers.

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