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Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Quarterly Spotlight: Kathy VerbanicKathy Verbanic

On July 2nd Kathy Verbanic worked her last day and start her celebration of retirement after 36 years with the University of Kansas Hospital and the department of anesthesia.

We would like to congratulate Kathy on her long career and wish her the best in her retirement. We are grateful for her dedication to KU and the wonderful care she has provided our patients over her career. She has touched many lives not only patients and families, but colleagues, surgeons, OR staff and many others. Kathy is a trailblazer that paved the way for the many CRNAs that followed as she was the first CRNA to work for the health system. For 16 years Kathy was the only CRNA in the health system. She has helped educate and mentor countless students, throughout her career and her lasting impact on the career of so many is immeasurable.
Enjoy your retirement and as you sail off into the sunset, be proud of the lives you saved, the comfort you provided and the friends you made.
Be safe and send us a post card occasionally!

Kathy's Bio
1974-1976 Bethany Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology....   associate degree 
1976-1978 KCKCC Registered Nursing Program....  associate degree 
1980-1983 KU Nurse Anesthesia Program.... bachelor's degree

What inspired you to become a CRNA?

"My career path was driven by challenge.  I found X-ray work to be repetitive and somewhat boring.  As a SICU nurse, the work was more rewarding, but not quite challenging enough.  A colleague graduated from KU's Anesthesia program and on her recommendation, I applied.  It proved to be, just what I was looking for, both challenging and rewarding. I have never regretted that decision, to this day."

Sole CRNA Provider

"In 1985 I returned to KU, while looking for part time work.  I was hired by the Anesthesiology Foundation at that time, becoming the first CRNA to ever work for the department.  It was a 16-year solo career.  In 1999, KUMW opened.  I did cases there and downtown. Eventually I became fulltime at KUMW, and the department elected to hire more CRNA's for the hospital needs."

What changes have you seen during your CRNA career?

"The biggest changes I've seen at KU are, the development of "outpatient" surgery, the tremendous growth of our department, and the growth of the hospital."

What is your personal mantra?

"breathe in....breathe out....I can do this."

What in life are you most proud of?

"I take much pride in having been given the opportunity to work with so many experienced and knowledgeable professionals."

What do you like to do in your spare time?

"My free time is filled with activities. In good weather gardening, hiking, deep sea fishing, and concerts. Wintertime you'll find me painting, interior decorating, reading, and concerts."

What are your plans for after July 2nd?

"My retirement plans are filled with travel.  Chaz and I will be camping all over the US and Canada, seeing places of interest and visiting family. Also, we are having a 40FT Trimaran Sailboat commissioned in Vietnam. Once it is finished it will be shipped to Delaware where we will board, with our 4 dogs, and sail the world."

Quarterly Spotlight: Heather Hoelscher

Heather Hoelscher

Heather Hoelscher is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at The University of Kansas Health System's Department of Anesthesiology. She joined our team in 2016 after finishing her Doctorate in Nurse Anesthesia at the University of Kansas. Prior to that, Heather received her undergrad at the University of Arkansas and graduated with a bachelors in Nursing from University of Oklahoma. And yes, she roots for each of these schools when it comes to sports. 

What inspired you to become a CRNA?

"When I was a teenager I became very ill, it was the nurses and their rapport they had with me and my family for the month I was being intubated and then recovered that drew me to nursing. Then during nursing school I was lucky enough to meet a CRNA and became fascinated with her clinical competency, critical thinking, and autonomy. Most of all I loved the process of intubating, maintenance and emergence. After that there was no stopping me to achieve this goal of becoming a CRNA."

You currently serve as a liaison for the students and SHP faculty. Why did you choose to serve in this capacity?

"I believe the experience, advice and clinical teaching I recieved from the CRNAs during school shaped me into the CRNA I am today. It is important for me to help do the same for the SRNAs. I find joy in helping the SRNAs transition into clinicals and it is rewarding to see them grow as providers. I hope to make sure the CRNAs and SRNAs are comfortable during their clinical time at KU. Lastly, I hope I can show the rewarding side of our job which i believe is being able to take care of a patient at one of their most vulnerable points and make it a pleasant experience all while keeping them safe."

Why The University of Kansas Health System?

"The CRNA group as a whole. The teamwork and respect we have for each other shows every single day! KU is a big hospital and we all work hard to give the best care possible to our patients. It is nice to know you have people surrounding you that can give you advice, help with tips or just someone to listen. In my opinion, our group genuinely gets a long and many of us become friends. We have social events outside of work and support each other with any milestones in life."

What is your personal mantra?

"There is a story behind every person. There is a reason why they are the way they are. Try to think about that, and respect them for who they are."

In your life, what are you most proud of?

"My relationships. It is very important for me to be a good wife, daughter, friend and coworker. I treasure all my relationships and it brings me joy to have these connections."

What do you like to do in your spare time?

"Travel; spending quality time with my husband and our golden retriever, Wallace; spin/ working out; and happy hour. Basically anything where I can be social or active."

Last modified: Jul 07, 2021