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Bringing Expertise to a Rural Area

[IMAGE: Casey Griffith]Practicing nursing in a rural setting is something that Casey Griffith holds near and dear to his heart. Casey grew up in the small town of Carrollton, Ill. and now lives in Mount Carmel, Ill. with his wife. A double alumnus, he earned his bachelor of science degree in nursing from SIUE in 2003 and his master of science degree in nurse anesthesia in 2007.

Immediately after graduating from the nurse anesthesia program, Casey began working at the Wabash General Hospital in Mount Carmel, Ill. as the facility's only nurse anesthetist.

"I think that my ability to work alone for that first year is a testament to the quality education that I earned at SIUE," Casey said. "The great variety of clinical sites and the opportunities to learn in multiple regions prepared me to work as an independent practitioner in a rural community. I was able to learn how to operate in settings that were more limited on resources than facilities in larger cities."

Casey currently works as one of two nurse anesthetists at Wabash General Hospital. The rural critical access hospital has 25 beds, two operating rooms, a surgical department and an endoscopy suite. The two nurse anesthetists work on cases ranging from orthopedic joint replacements to hysterectomies.

"I like the independence that a rural setting brings and the autonomy that comes with it," Casey said. "In larger settings, there are cases in which you are limited in your scope of practice. However in a rural setting, we are the experts in our focus, and we get the most use out of our education."

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