MTSA Expands Focus on Ultrasound

MTSA is rolling out multiple efforts that will expand the use of ultrasound as a tool for CRNAs, positioning the School as a leader in Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) education. This includes the addition of new patient simulator technology, coupled with published research and a scheduled presentation at the AANA Congress.

PHOTO: MTSA Assistant Program Director John Shields, DNP, CRNA, (left) and Destin Goins, SRNA, assess mitral regurgitation with transesophageal echocardiography in the Simulation Skills Lab on campus. MTSA now includes Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) as part of its curriculum and requires transesophageal and transthoracic echo training for graduation.

BodyWorks Eve Simulator

MTSA has acquired two new state-of-the-art patient simulators designed for interactive Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) scenario training, an area of practice in which CRNAs are finding their roles expanding in the clinical setting, according to Ginger Miller, DNP, CRNA, Director of MTSA’s Center for Clinical Simulation.

Complete with 100 real patient scans and more than 10,000 pathology variations across cardiac, lung, transabdominal and pelvic ultrasound, BodyWorks “Eve” is a powerful new tool for MTSA students learning how to incorporate the technology into their skillset.

“In simulation training, we can bring in models to scan normal, healthy anatomy. But Eve has all the pathologies that students might not be able to see and study because of limited opportunities in the OR,” Miller said. “We can show them what an ectopic pregnancy looks like when ruptured, what a uterine or ovarian cyst looks like, whether the patient is intubated in the esophagus versus the trachea, looking for possible pneumothorax after inserting a line, and so on. Prior to this, the only visualization a student might have is seeing a picture in a book.”

Eve also includes a comprehensive education in cardiac anatomy and echocardiography through the addition of HeartWorks TEE & TTE functionality – an area of clinical practice that continues to grow in nurse anesthesia.

“When we scan Eve’s heart using ultrasound, next to the image is an animated picture where students can see the probe, the angle of the probe, and they can click on certain areas to view the anatomical definition, how to scan it, what you’re looking for, as well as diagnostics. So it’s a powerful tool,” Miller added.

In addition, Miller said she can create case studies for students: “For example, we can show that the patient presents with normal vital signs but abdominal pain, and the students have to scan to figure out what is going on with the patient.

“We’re ahead of the curve in terms of preparing CRNAs to incorporate ultrasound into the clinical setting. Our students are going to have that knowledge to be able to either teach their colleagues and to be prepared when it’s included in the scope of practice,” Miller said.

MTSA plans to expand the use of Eve into ultrasound simulation for the DNAP program as well as the Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship and regional anesthesia workshops.

Research Published in AANA Journal


John Shields, DNP, CRNA, (left) and Rusty Gentry, DNAP, CRNA, authored an article that was published as the cover story in the February issue of AANA Journal. The article, Effect of Simulation Training on Cognitive Performance Using Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE), explores simulator training versus online learning.

The research compared online learning vs. hands-on simulator based learning. The results demonstrated the benefit of simulator and online training in teaching TEE image interpretation, image recognition, and cardiac pathology identification.

Based on this evidence and student input favoring simulation, significant resources were devoted towards other ultrasound techniques using mannequins and pathologies including abdominal/chest trauma surgery and pulmonary pathology.

According to Shields, MTSA continues to lead nurse anesthesia in the effort to enhance scope of practice through advanced ultrasound training. Future work will be devoted towards expanding evidence-based practice through research and offering the best clinical education available for nurse anesthesia students and fellows.

PoCUS Workshop at AANA Congress

Connected with MTSA’s increased focus on ultrasound education, John Shields will lead a group of faculty and collaborators presenting a special workshop at the 2020 AANA Annual Congress taking place in San Diego in August.

The workshop will center on Perioperative Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS), offering training in basic clinical ultrasound used to assist in perioperative assessment and decision-making. It will include a two-part course with online modules and a hands-on workshop, according to Shields.

Shields will be joined by Rusty Gentry, DNAP, CRNA, Program Administrator; Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship; and Ginger Miller, DNP, CRNA, Director of the Center for Clinical Simulation. The group is bringing a new educational delivery method to the AANA with online didactic instructions, allowing for full utilization of time onsite for hands-on scanning and practice.

The knowledge-based online learning component will focus on ultrasound knowledge and scanning techniques. Core perioperative PoCUS scanning will be offered including airway, gastric, abdomen, vascular, transthoracic and basic transesophageal echocardiography. Participants will study the modules at their own pace, and the material may be accessed through smartphones and tablets.

The hands-on component will offer human models for scanning and state-of-the-art ultrasound simulators from Intelligent Ultrasound. Along with comprehensive perioperative scanning techniques, all participants will be able to perform FATE and FAST exams. Upon completion of the online and workshop components of the course the participant will receive a certificate of completion.

Check for future announcements.

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President’s Message: Encouragement in a Time of Uncertainty

Chris Hulin

It is most difficult to write a message in such a time as this – as the country deals with the pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19. We’ve learned that things can and do change rapidly. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is God’s Word. The following message was written by MTSA Chaplain Ken Wetmore, MA, Senior Pastor of the Madison Campus Seventh-day Adventist Church. He shared this message with all MTSA students, faculty, and staff in a week which began with the Nashville community and most of the country quarantined to lessen the spread of the virus. I share this with his permission in hopes that it too will encourage you and provide hope in a time of uncertainty. May God bless you and your family.

It really hit me last week in the midst of a rearranged reality, due to COVID-19, that my church’s theme this year is THRIVE. “What a dumb choice of themes, Ken,” was my first thought. How can we thrive with this virus putting people in the hospital and killing some? How can we thrive as our economy is turned upside down and people take pay cuts and even lose jobs? How can we thrive when we are isolated from each other? As I turned it over in my head, it felt incongruous.

As I talked to God about it and shared my frustration with Him, His still small voice began to make sense of my confusion. He reminded me that everyone’s favorite bumpersticker/refrigerator magnet, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV), was not as rosy as it appears. It came after God gave His people seemingly bad news that they would be stuck in Babylon for 70 years. He reminded me of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul who all had seemingly terrible events occur that eventually allowed them to fully thrive.

In the midst of the storm, it can be hard to see how anything good can come out of it. That’s when we have to trust the Bible when it tells us in Romans 8:28 (NLT) “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” The key to this verse is the part that often gets left off, “called according to his purpose for them.” For those who have surrendered their life to Jesus and given Him permission to do what He wants with their life, everything works out for their good. By the way, it’s not too late to do that if it isn’t something you have done. Remember, our spiritual good is God’s greatest goal. He wants us not to be temporarily happy in this life but desires us to be eternally happy with Him in the earth made new.

That is why we can claim the promise in Jeremiah 31:3-4 (NLT), “Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.’” God loves us. We will thrive because we can count on God to keep His promises. He has given us each other and together we will THRIVE!

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New Alumni Grant Assistance Fund Available

Next application period to open later this year

The MTSA Alumni Association has developed and spearheaded a new Grant Assistance Fund to promote scholarly work by students and workshop attendees, announced Rod Schwindt, MS, CRNA, Alumni President.

“This new grant program has been long in the making,” Schwindt said. “I want to acknowledge Matt O’Connor, the former alumni association president, for initiating the grant concept. It is his idea that comes to fruition today.”

The MTSA Board of Trustees has earmarked funds generated by investment earnings to finance the initial grants. A grants committee has been established to facilitate the new program.

The initial application period closed in March, and three grants were approved – one dual enrollee, the other two DNAP-C enrollees. The next application period will open later this year.

Program details are as follows:

Purpose statement

The MTSA Alumni Association Grant Assistance Fund is designed to aid, fund, and support MTSA students, workshop attendees, and alumni anesthesia practitioners emphasizing the continuing advancement of the nurse anesthesia profession. Grant funds are available in a variety of categories.

General Guidelines

  • Applicant/Recipient must be engaged with MTSA as a student, Fellow, workshop attendee, or Acute Surgical Pain Management Institute project/researcher.
  • Grant funds should continue to foster the advancement of the nurse anesthesia profession.
  • Grants can support investigational studies for Acute Surgical Pain Management Institute initiated projects, USGRA workshop students/participants, and Acute Surgery Pain Institute “Think Tank” projects – papers, presentations, and podium presentations.
  • Projects that expand the body of knowledge for the nurse anesthesia are essential funding priorities.
  • Funds distributed annually are dependent upon earned income from an investment pool as temporarily designated by the MTSA Board of Trustees.
  • The award amounts may be reallocated at the discretion of the Fund Administrative Committee per the number of applicants per category.


Only MTSA enrollees and workshop attendees are eligible in the following areas:

  • DNAP-Practice Doctorate
  • DNAP-Completion
  • ASPM Fellowship
  • USGRA Workshop
  • Dual Enrollees

More information is available at

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Registration Open for MTSA’s Fall Events

17th Annual MTSA Golf Classic
Thursday, Sept. 17
Hermitage Golf Course
Benefitting MTSA’s Mission Initiatives in Guyana and local communities.

4th Annual MTSA Sporting Clay Tournament
Friday, Nov. 6
Location: To Be Announced
Benefitting MTSA’s opioid-reduction initiative.

For more information, visit or call (615) 732-7674.

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Advanced Regional Cadaveric Workshops

MTSA announced it will continue to offer hands-on training courses for CRNAs, utilizing cadavers, “live” scanning models and state-of-the-art ultrasound technology. Two Advanced Cadaveric Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia workshops will be offered this year: Aug. 2 and Oct. 25.

During these workshops, participants receive the benefits of small-group “live” scanning and needling stations, low faculty-to-attendee ratios, and an individualized learning plan that suits the attendee’s needs in regional anesthesia, according to Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the MTSA Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship. Information presented is highly practical and immediately useful to the attendee’s daily clinical practice.

As an example of the workshops’ applicability, Johnson said, “Dr. Serge Marchand, PhD, presented a lecture during the Regional Cadaveric Workshop in February and did a great job discussing the mechanisms of persistent postsurgical pain.”

During the upcoming workshops, Johnson said that the following blocks will be taught and demonstrated: PECs I/II, erector spinae, infraclavicular, serratus anterior, costoclavicular, RAPTIR, quadratus lumborum, TAP (iliohypogastric/ilioinguinal, transversalis, and posterior TAP), suprascapular (anterior and posterior approaches), and paravertebral nerve blocks. Advanced approaches to upper and lower extremity will also be taught, to include axillary at the circumflex artery, distal upper/lower USGRA blocks, and anterior sciatic.

In addition, Johnson will welcome anatomists from a local university (trained PhDs and DPTs) to perform the dissection and instruction of the anatomy related specifically to regional anesthesia. Simultaneous explanations of sonoanatomy will coincide with the gross anatomic dissections. These anatomists will also teach neuromuscular assessment of nerves, mapping of nerve lesions, and documentation of these findings.

Instructors for the daylong workshop include Johnson; Stace Dollar, MS, CRNA; John M. Edwards, III, MS, CRNA; Kelly Martin, MS, CRNA; and MTSA Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellows.

Participants can earn up to 16 Class A CE credits by completing the pre-course content and the course content combined.

Registration is available at For more information contact Bill Johnson at (615) 732-7846 or

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MTSA Staff Transitions

Several members of the MTSA staff have transitioned into different roles, while a number of individuals have joined the staff. “We are pleased for those who have served the institution through the years and for the new faces joining the team,” said Chris Hulin, MTSA President.

Following are highlights of several MTSA employee changes:

Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director, Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship, has added the title of Director of the DNAP Completion program. With the Dual Enrollment option including the Fellowship and DNAP completion, Dr. Johnson now has prevue over both.


Former private client banking portfolio manager Lyndsey Steen, BA, joins MTSA as the new Coordinator of Admissions & Recruitment. Pam Nimmo continues holding the same title as she trains Lyndsey and looks forward to retirement in July.


Jon Ronning, MBA, former Assistant to the VP of Finance & Administration, has been named VP for Finance & Administration, replacing Sam Minten who recently retired.


Nathan Johnson, BBA, has been named the new Assistant to the VP of Finance & Administration, replacing Jon Ronning.



Amy Gideon, EdD, has been named Manager of the Learning Resource Center in anticipation of the growth and development of the Acute Surgical Pain Institute.


Carol Stinson has accepted the Assistant Registrar, Academic Support Specialist role as she begins her transition to retirement later this year.


Jessica Creason, MA, has been named Registrar and Coordinator of Academic Support. Jessica replaces Carol Stinson as transition takes place in anticipation of Carol’s retirement.


Rebecca Talley, Med, has been named Administrative Assistant to Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA.



Sara Metcalf, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, has added the role of Administrative Assistant for Advancement & Alumni. Sara will wear two hats – adding the administrative assistant role for the VP of Advancement & Alumni to her responsibilities.


Maria Overstreet, PhD, RN, Vice President of Academics & Institutional Effectiveness, Title IX Coordinator, and Director of Student Services. She will provide administrative oversight of these areas. The dean title has been retired.


Jean Baron-White, Executive Administrative Assistant, will provide support for both Drs. Hulin and Overstreet.

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MTSA Featured in Public Television Series

MTSA has joined forces with Public Television to focus on combatting the opioid epidemic. Information Matrix, hosted by actor-director Laurence Fishburne, airs on PBS affiliates across the country over the next 12 months and features a short-form documentary on MTSA. In addition, a link to the segment was emailed to more than 1 million recipients nationwide.

The five-minute institutional profile highlights MTSA’s continuing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, including the Acute Surgical Pain Management (ASPM) Fellowship. The segment features interviews with MTSA President Chris Hulin; Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the MTSA ASPM Fellowship; and Fellowship faculty Stace Dollar, MS, CRNA; and, John M. Edwards, III, MS, CRNA, as well as clips from MTSA’s Regional Cadaveric Workshop.

Information Matrix is designed as educational content for Public Television in all 50 states. The recurring series informs viewers on the latest topics and trends impacting the world. Hosted by Laurence Fishburne, the program has an estimated viewership and reach of 60 million households over the course of a year.

In addition to airing on PBS, a one-minute version of MTSA’s Information Matrix segment will be shown on other major networks, such as Fox Business Network, CNBC, CNN, Learning Channel and Discovery Channel.

To view the videos, visit MTSA’s YouTube channel at

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MTSA Mission & Awards Gala postponed due to COVID-19 health crisis

The MTSA Mission & Awards Gala presented by Anesthesia Medical Group, previously scheduled for May 7, has been postponed until next year based on the unprecedented health crisis our country is now facing, announced Matt Demaree, event chairman. “We, along with you, are very concerned about the effects of COVID-19 not only on the health of the citizens, but for our anesthesia professionals on the front lines treating patients every day.”

“Based on social-distancing guidelines issued by federal and state officials aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus, we believe it prudent to take this step,” said Demaree. He added that the School is asking whether donors who have already contributed for the gala this year would like their contribution to be applied to the postponed event in May 2021. Donors who have pledged support, but have not yet paid, are welcome to make their contribution, which will be held for next year, allowing donors to receive all associated benefits for next year’s event. Donors who prefer a refund are asked to send a written request to the Advancement Office at MTSA. All silent auction contributions will be held for next year.

“We are saddened that we must take this step, but believe it is the wise decision based on the changing landscape we all face today,” said Demaree. “Every member of the gala committee is committed to planning a wonderful future event that will celebrate the achievements of the awardees while funding the important mission work of MTSA.”

“Thank you for your continued support of MTSA. Please remember our alum and all healthcare providers in prayer as they serve at such an important time. May God bless your family in health and safety at this time.”

For more information, please contact the MTSA Advancement Office at (615) 732-7674 or

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MTSA Service in Action

MTSA encourages service by its employees by providing release from regular work time to volunteer

Organized by Executive Administrative Assistant Jean Baron-White, MTSA staff volunteer to create Valentine’s cards for Meals-on-Wheels clients.


Jean Baron-White (left) and Pam Nimmo, Admissions & Recruitment Coordinator, delivered Valentine’s cards to the FiftyForward Meals-on-Wheels coordinator. The hand-made cards by MTSA staff were included with delivered meals on Valentine’s Day.

MTSA employees serve at the Hendersonville Samaritan Center. (l to r) Amy Gideon, EdD, Manager, Learning Resource Center; Rebecca Talley, Administrative Assistant; Jon Ronning, MBA, Vice President, Finance & Administration; Ginger Miller, DNP, CRNA, Director, Center for Clinical Simulation; and Lynn Ray, Coordinator, Clinical Support, packaged food for students in the surrounding elementary schools that are in need of food. The Center does this three times a year: Christmas, spring and summer breaks. Kroger and Publix give food donations in addition to food drives through local churches. After packaging all the food for the kids, the group helped stock the pantry.

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From the Archives: Class of 2011

Class of 2011 students attend the annual Tennessee Association of Nurse Anesthetists convention at the Cool Springs Marriott, Franklin, Tenn., in October, 2009. Pictured are (l to r) Kenneth Selerio, James Hammond, Jarrett Jones, Bradley Coker, Patrick Hall, and Justin Burge.

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