CRNA Spotlight
Jonah Smith, MSN, CRNA

Where are you from, your family, education, and current place of employment?
I am from Slidell but currently living in Mandeville with my wife (Julie) and two kids, (Ava, 12, and Ford, 7 months). I went to LSU for my bachelor’s degree, graduating in 2007. I started my nursing career at Children’s Hospital New Orleans (2007-2009) and then moved to University Hospital in the Trauma-Surgical ICU (2008-2010). In 2010 I was accepted into the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia in Nashville, TN. Having clinical training sites in Tennessee, Ohio and Texas provided me with diverse experience. Following graduation, I worked at Ochsner Medical Center from 2013-2019. Caseload was varied at such a large center, however the latter 3 years I became more focused on pediatric cases with a position on the congenital heart anesthesia team. A year ago, I accepted a position at St. Tammany Health System in Covington where I hope to spend the rest of my career.

How did you decide on a career in anesthesia?
My decision to move towards anesthesia was simple. I realized that the schedule and compensation in nursing coupled with the lack of autonomy wasn’t going to afford me the job satisfaction and quality of life I desired. Human physiology and pharmacology interest me so anesthesia was an easy choice.

Any anesthesia experiences that stand out in your mind, good or bad?

The most memorable experience of my career thus far was being on the anesthesia team that cared for a young boy receiving a Berlin Heart VAD; the first to be performed at Ochsner Medical Center. As soon as the case finished, a heart donor was found for the same boy. So that night we brought him back to the OR for a heart transplant. It was very special to be a part of that child’s care. Knowing how much life was going to change for both that child and his grandmother has left a lasting impression on me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

What practice model are you currently working in?

At STPH, CRNAs and Anesthesiologists work together in an Anesthesia Care Team model.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Both my kids are at fun ages, so they keep me busy. Outside of time with family, I am typically either exercising, watching football, shooting my bow or hunting. I do enjoy reading all things non-fiction if time allows it; which it rarely does these days with kids.

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