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CRNA Spotlight

Amanda Rome: CRNA of the Quarter, Q3 2023

Amanda Rome

I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have two amazing parents and one younger sister. I went to grade school, high school, and college all in my hometown. I graduated nursing school in 2010 and worked in Houston, TX until 2015 when I decided to go back to CRNA school. As most people know I met my husband, Michael, in school and we graduated in 2018. My plan was to move back to Houston and his plan was to move to Kansas City. I lost that battle, but I am so glad I did. We moved to Lenexa in 2018, built a beautiful home, and have two children. Anna Grace (3) and Michael, Jr. (1) keep me very busy, but I wouldn't change a thing.

I really enjoy living in the Midwest and experiencing all four seasons. I promise y'all it is NOT hot here in the summers ðŸ™‚.  I absolutely love my midwestern life but am a true southern girl at heart.

What do you like to do in your spare time; what are your hobbies?  

In my spare time I enjoy going for a run, taking a yoga class, gardening, and shopping.

What is something unique about you (a fun fact) that few people are aware of?

Most people assume I am a city girl; however, I spent a lot of my childhood on my family's sugarcane farm. Another fun fact is that I am the oldest of 25 cousins. 

What is your personal mantra?  

Be true, be you, be kind.

What in your life are you most proud of?  

My family! 

What is your dream vacation? 

My dream vacation would be a kid-free vacation ðŸ™‚. I have always wanted to travel and spend time in the French Riviera. 

What is your favorite movie? Actor/Actress/Celebrity? 

I do not have the attention span for most movies but if I had to pick a favorite movie it would be The Godfather. I much prefer to watch shorter episodes of TV shows and enjoy a variety such as crime, true stories, and comedy. 

What is your favorite food? Least favorite?  

My favorite food would be anything Italian. I haven't ventured out too much in KC to try the italian food, but I hear its' pretty good. I've always appreciated homemade pasta. I also can't claim to be a true southerner without listing seafood. Crawfish etoufee, jambalaya, and shrimp and grits to name a few. Fun fact - Michael can cook all of these delicacies way better than me. 

What inspired you to become a CRNA? How long have you been a CRNA? 

I don't have a specific reason I can pinpoint to say what inspired me to become a CRNA. No one in my family has any medical background; however, I enjoy developing a rapport with people and connecting on a personal level. I also have a strong desire to fix things, type A personality at its finest. My job allows me to do both of those things while providing compassion and sometimes having a little bit of fun. 

 If I were a CRNA looking for a job, what would you say to me to encourage me to join the team?  

Our team is just the best! We are very welcoming to new hires. You can come to KU and work with extremely competent CRNAs that challenge you to be a better provider each and every day all while providing top notch care. In addition, the opportunities for growth are endless. We also provide mentorship and support when needed. The #1 reason to come join our team is we are just a great group of people that I have always found to be relatable in all aspects of life. 

What is your advice to those considering CRNA school?

Do it and don't look back. It is such a rewarding job that everyone can find their own niche and really thrive. 

What makes you proud to be a CRNA at TUKHS? 

The people I work with and how they continually motivate me to be a better provider and person. 

Michelle Altenhofen: CRNA of the Quarter, Q2 2023

Michelle AltenhofenAbout:

I was born in Kansas City and have lived here my whole life. I went to St. Pius X high school where I met my husband, Joe. We started dating when we were 16. I went to Rockhurst University for my BSN and KU for my DNAP. We have four children, Elaina (14) Liam (8) Nora (6) and Henry (4). My oldest daughter loves playing the guitar and has introduced me to a lot of rock music from before both of our time. My biggest boy is left-handed and great at every sport he tries. My younger daughter loves dance and gymnastics and sonic the hedgehog. My baby boy loves sucking his thumb and snuggling with his “soft blanket”. 

What inspired you to become a CRNA? 

When I went to college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to be in healthcare. The nursing students were so kind and welcoming, and I loved the way everyone worked together and helped each other study and grow. The camaraderie led me to pursue nursing, and I loved the support and friendship I found in the nursing profession. When I was a nurse, I enjoyed caring for critically ill ICU patients and making a difference in their lives. After learning about CRNAs, and the important work we do that requires both finesse in physical clinical skills and quick critical thinking… I knew it was the career for me. I like to think many years of the mental and physical challenge of gymnastics prepared me for this career. I’ve been a CRNA for almost 5 years, and I’ve loved every second of it. I can’t do a cartwheel anymore, but I can intubate and start IVs and arterial lines… and that’s pretty cool!

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

I love to read books and go on walks. I like decorating and redecorating my house and working on home projects with my husband. I love planning vacations to Disney World. I am a big fan of Starbucks coffee.

What is a fun fact about you?

My daughter’s name was inspired from my favorite clinical rotation in anesthesia school—Non OR Anesthesia, NORA for short :)

What is your personal mantra? 

I believe Disney has some of the best mantras to live by…. Just keep swimming, do the next right thing, let it go, hakuna matata. All of these have gotten me through a few tough times in life!

What in your life are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family and my work. I wouldn’t be a CRNA without my husband, my parents, my sisters, and my kids. My family means more to me than anything in the world! I am very proud of my job as a CRNA and do my best to give the best anesthetic to every patient. I love learning about my patients and helping them feel a little more comfortable on what could be very difficult times in their lives.

What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation is a split stay between the Polynesian and Riviera Resorts in Walt Disney World. I would probably aim for a 10-day 9-night stay with Genie+ and park hoppers for 8 days, and 2 rest days to enjoy each resort pool and restaurants.

What are your favorite movies?

My favorite movies include Drop Dead Gorgeous, Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain, Encanto, Frozen, and Beauty and the Beast.

What are some of your favorite foods?

My current favorite food is a turtle sundae from Andy’s frozen custard. I also love butter chicken, deviled eggs, beef goulash, and my mom’s lasagna casserole.

If I were a CRNA looking for a job, what would you say to me to encourage me to join the team?

When people ask me why I chose to stay at KU after graduation, I always say I feel so supported here, both in my work life and my home life. I have coworkers who I know I can ask for clinical help, a schedule trade, or a bathroom break if I need it. I trust the anesthesiologists, surgeons, and nursing staff in the OR here. Many of them have become friends and I love walking into an operating room and seeing who I get to work with that day. I lost my mom unexpectedly last year, and our chief CRNA was one of the first people I called. He assured me it would be okay, helped me rearrange my immediate scheduling needs, and start to pick back up the pieces of my life. The students I work with sent me the sweetest self-care package and made sure to work with me in the OR in case I needed extra help when I first came back to work. The CRNAs and anesthesiologists sent me the kindest cards and door dash gift cards to get through some tough days in the early stages of grief. I can’t thank them enough… my work family really helped carry me through those first few months. They care about me as a person, not just a number, and that is why I love being a CRNA at KU.

I love telling people about my profession, especially nurses who are interested in becoming CRNAs. This is one of the best decisions I could have made for myself and my family. I love the flexibility of my schedule. I love that the work I do is important, and it matters, and that I can continue perfecting my skills and learning new techniques to improve patient outcomes. Anyone who has a heart for this job can do it, you just have to keep showing up for yourself and your patients and doing your best!


Liz Fenton: CRNA of the Quarter, Q1 2023

CRNA Liz Fenton in scrubs holding a floral bouquet with notes and decorations on the door behind her
Liz Fenton receiving flowers

I graduated from Truman in 2016 and worked at Mosaic Life Care for one year prior to starting here in 2017. I’ve been married to Grant for 16 years this March and we have Addie (6), Kinley (3) and two cats who are both very old….(I’m ready for a dog)

What inspired you to become a CRNA?

I was a freshman in college at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (my hometown) and I needed to pick a major! Bryan College of nursing has a CRNA program there and I read about it online and decided that was it! So I went to Bryan nursing school and moved here after doing my nursing capstone on the MICU here at KU.

What do you love most about your job as a CRNA at The University of Kansas Health System?

For sure I love my co-workers! I’m happy when I come to work and get to jump around seeing everyone giving breaks. I know it sounds silly or cheesy, but I actually have job satisfaction helping in that small way of providing a much needed break or relief.

If I were a CRNA looking for a job, what would you say to me to encourage me to join the team?

We offer a good variety of experiences here with the ability to choose specialties (heart, peds, ob etc). The shift work is a huge benefit as well as a good leadership team and overall group. I also enjoy working with the students!

What in your life are you most proud of?

Being a parent has been a very humbling experience and I am most proud of my family. Grant supported me all the way through both nursing school and anesthesia school and now as a working mom! So I’m proud to be where I’m at in life but it takes a village!

What is your favorite pastime?

By far my favorite pastime…. Is anything and all things gardening. I seriously geek out over this! Going to family tree nursery, getting a coffee and buying plants is a great day for me! (more so outdoors not as much house plants)

Where on earth are you hoping to travel next?

Switzerland maybe this fall? My mom grew up there and I still have uncles/aunts/cousins there.

Do you have any programs that you are currently binge-watching?

I binge watch Gardner’s World a BBC show. Yup.

What would you eat if you had to eat only one meal every day for the rest of your life?

Probably white bread with butter and jelly

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

I actually thrive off of quiet me time….which basically doesn’t exist outside of a coffee break at work, but I love doing things outside with my girls and hubby, like going to the park or taking a walk. So just being outside, spending time with family/friends

Michael Armato: CRNA of the Quarter, Q4 2022


I graduated from Truman Medical Center and UMKC School of Nurse Anesthesia in 2018. KU was my first home after graduation. My wife Kara and I have three kids Nora, Owen, and Ira. 

What inspired you to become a CRNA?

I went into nursing after seeing my mom receive excellent care in the hospital. I loved the ICU and found CRNAs when I was working there. I knew CRNA was the job for me. 

You have assisted in radiation monitoring, recruiting and other committees with our CRNA group, why did you choose to serve in this capacity?

I like being able to help our group. These are just some the ways I can fill a need. 

If I were a CRNA looking for a job, what would you say to me to encourage me to join the team?

I was looking for a group that was cohesive and valued a work life balance.  I also wanted to be able to join an OB team. I enjoy that patient population. 

What in your life are you most proud of?

I could talk for days about my family. I’m proud of everything they do. 

What do you like to do in your spare time; what are your hobbies?

 I like to travel but the majority of our spare time is spent with kids and their hobbies.  

Nancy Fiscus: CRNA of the Quarter, Q4 2022

CRNA Nancy Fiscus and family pose in front of a rocky watering hole
CRNA Nancy Fiscus and family on vacation

In 2008, I was the last graduate of The University of Kansas Nurse Anesthesia Program @ Mt Carmel Hospital in Pittsburg, KS. Primarily, it was a rural, CRNA practice that was initiated with grant funds that strived to meet the need for CRNAs in rural Kansas. We spent the first 7, of the newly 36 month CRNA program (it formerly was 30 months) on campus at the Medical Center in Kansas City, focusing on didactic, and shadowing. I began working at KU in 2016.

What inspired you to become a CRNA?

After completing our family with the adoption of our youngest son, I was inspired to seek new learning opportunities in nursing. I was intrigued by the anesthesia knowledge that had been completely unknown to me. 

What is your advice to those considering CRNA school?  

First, ask yourself, if you can devote more than 36 months of your life to being submerged in a wealth of uncharted knowledge?  Second, are you and your brain prepared to work harder than you thought possible?

What is your personal mantra?

My personal mantra gets me into a lot of trouble: I see the funny side of almost every situation!

What in your life are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the work ethic that our children are developing as they reach adulthood. 

What do you like to do in your spare time; what are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I enjoy scrapbooking photos that celebrate my children’s activities. When I retire, I look forward to visiting my Bucket List Destinations.

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Anesthesiology
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 1034
Kansas City, KS 66160