Student Spotlight: Erin Leigh Galligan

Feb. 28, 2018

Senior in the DNP Nurse Anesthetist specialty program, from the Bay Area

Why did you decide to pursue a nursing degree?

I originally pursued an accelerated BSN degree, knowing I wanted to become an advanced practice nurse, but I wasn’t sure of the specialty.  After seeing a CRNA do the job, I immediately knew that I wanted to become a CRNA.  

What drew you to the UA College of Nursing?

I was already living in Tucson, gaining ICU experience to eventually go to CRNA school. When the UA created its CRNA program, it was very serendipitous. 

What is it about nurse anesthesia that you find particularly appealing?

Every day, people trust anesthesia providers with their lives and the lives of the people they love.  This is a huge onus of responsibility, and I try very hard to honor that trust put in me. The practice of anesthesia is real-time medicine with results that are immediately appreciable.  Also, I find anesthesia to be this area of confluence between evidence-based practice, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, vigilance, collaboration, cost-consciousness and efficiency where consideration of every variable must take place when developing an anesthetic plan.

What features of your program are you especially passionate about?

I appreciate that this degree is terminal, which will allow me to one day teach future CRNAs at the collegiate level. Also, the CRNA program starts with a cadaver lab, which is a feature not many CRNA programs offer. We also get to rotate through different clinical sites, affording us the opportunity to experience rural medicine, academic medicine, private practice and independent CRNAs. 

Please share your favorite memory from your time at the CON.

This summer, I was able to spend about a month in Luang Prabang, Laos, working in the OR at the only pediatric hospital in the country.  This was a life-changing, challenging and incredible experience from which I feel I am still decompressing.  Luang Prabang is where the idea for my DNP project in third world pain education came to life. 

How do you intend to Build Better Futures?

Having a terminal degree to teach, and being able to do mission trips caring for disenfranchised populations are both in my future as a CRNA.