CRNA of Distinction

We recognize that our diverse members work hard and dedicate themselves in exemplary ways and we want to celebrate you! The MANA "CRNA of Distinction" honors members with outstanding dedication to the CRNA profession. "CRNAs of Distinction" are featured on the MANA website, via email and in the MANA e-newsletter.  Nominate yourself, a peer, or an employee who has gone above and beyond to be a MANA "CRNA of Distinction". Click here to complete a nomination form. 

MANA's June 2018 CRNA of Distinction

Colonel Brian Campbell, CRNA 

COL Brian Campbell, CRNA pictured with his daughter Kathleen

Colonel Brian Campbell, CRNA of Malden, MA has enjoyed a full career marked by outstanding quality, dedication, conduct and unwavering service.  Though bright, warm and witty, Brian is the consummate professional and a true servant leader inspiring the respect and admiration of those around him.  We are delighted to feature Brian as MANAs first CRNA of distinction where his experiences and insights can be shared with our members. 

Colonel Brian Campbell, CRNA started nursing after graduating from Boston State College in 1979. Seven years later Brian graduated from Carney Hospital as a CRNA and joined the Army Reserves with the 399th Combat Support Hospital in Taunton, MA.  As a CRNA, Brian entered the Army Reserves as a 1st Lieutenant, in 1986 and was promoted to Colonel in 2006 during his active duty in Iraq, where he assumed the roles of Deputy Commander of Clinical Services, and Chief CRNA and then Deputy Commander of Nursing of the 804th Medical Brigade headquartered at Fort Devens upon return home.  During a 2011 tour, Brian served as Theater Consultant for Nursing, the pinnacle nursing role of all the U.S. Forces in Iraq. His outstanding service was awarded with the Legion of Merit, the  Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster, the  Army Commendation Medals with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters plus campaign medals honoring his service in both Kosovo and his tours in Iraq.  Additionally COL Campbell was inducted into The Order of Military Medical Merit in 2011.

Campbell's service does not end with the military.  On the home front he has repeatedly served on the MANA Board of Directors, answering the call to lead the Board as President for 3 terms, meeting with lawmakers in MA and Washington DC, volunteering on various ad-hoc committees and even testifying before Massachusetts state legislators about CRNA practice. He also served as Chair of the New England Assembly of Nurse Anesthetists, and in 2006 was elected as Region 1 Director for AANA, however, his term was cut short by his first deployment to Iraq.  COL Campbell retired from the Army Reserves in 2012 after 28 years of service, and is currently the Chief CRNA at Winchester Hospital, in Winchester, MA.  



What attracted you to the field of anesthesia and does it still hold the same attraction?  Have you had mentors along the way?

I heard about Nurse Anesthesia from my father, who was an OB/GYN Doctor, and was intrigued by the autonomy and responsibility these nurses had.  I believe the field is now so wide open with opportunities for CRNAs that it holds even more attraction now than ever and only wish I was young enough to take advantage of these opportunities. I have had mentors in my life through just about every stage of my life and career, and all of them have inspired me to always reach for the sky and never fear failure.


Tell us about what your military experience has meant to you, how it shaped you and your practice as a CRNA. 

I wanted to join the military to be able to practice those skills I couldn’t use in my civilian practice, however, the opportunity to do this came later on but the military people I met in my weekend drills and summer training became another family to me.  The military challenges you in ways you never thought about and certainly didn’t think you could accomplish yourself.


How has your experience differed as a CRNA in the military vs as a civilian?  

Besides the ability to practice to the full extent of your training, you also get to travel to places around the world and here in the US too of course putting on the uniform everyday either in reserve training or active duty gives you a great sense of pride in serving your country. 


Describe your transition between the two roles.

My active duty time made it more difficult to transition back to civilian life and my role as a CRNA because as I rose in rank my responsibilities increased and more and more soldiers were under my position and they relied on me for decisions and orders.  Back in the civilian world I was just another staff person managing my cases and trying to get through the daily schedule which made it hard to sometimes maintain that role.


Nursing, anesthesia and your character have taken you down many paths.  What are your most treasured roles and can you tell us about some of your most poignant experiences?  

All my deployments have experiences that you could never get anywhere else.  When I think of the experience of going from just another face in the crowd to being a leader of multiple people doing multiple jobs all focused on saving soldier’s lives it makes me wonder how I ever got to that place.  I also know that I never did any of this alone and always had excellent people supporting or assisting me in whatever job I was doing.


What do you see as our profession’s greatest accomplishment since you entered 1986 and what do you see for us going forward?

I believe going way back to getting our right to bill third party payers was the start of the movement to where CRNAs will be able to work and practice to the full extent of their training and licensure.  The current MANA BOD is working very hard on the next big step on the road to full practice authority in getting legislation passed giving us those well-deserved rights.


You serve so readily.  What drives you and speaks to you, and how do you keep yourself renewed and in balance?

When I became a CRNA I realized that this wasn’t just a good paying job but my profession and the thing that defined who I now was and that is a strong motivator for me.  It has to be the people you are with and those close friendships you develop either in your civilian or military world that keep you going.  I always have been competitive and hoped to be the best I can be.


What do you like to do when not working or serving our country and profession?   

As I said before I am very competitive and I keep that going by being a competitive shooter in bulls eye pistol in winter, and Trap shooting in the summer.  I also enjoy collecting vintage pens and golfing.


What are you reading?

I just finished the historical novel series by James Mace on the Anglo-Zulu war of the 1870s, and now am reading about the Air Carrier war in the Pacific during WWII.


What do you have to say to the new graduate or the RN out there thinking of going into anesthesia or the service?  

It is a truly rewarding field that gives you a great opportunity to really care for patients through the whole course of their procedure.  You will meet some of the best people that have chosen Nursing as their profession and have risen to become CRNAs.

What is on the horizon for you? 

I plan to retire from full-time work at the end of the year, to be able to spend time with family and grandchildren.

What should we all know about Brian Campbell, the man?  

I have been so very lucky to have been given the ability and chance to be a CRNA, but in the end I am no more important or special than the next person. I try to be kind to all as it is hard to remember what has happened in the past.


Inspired to share your story? Click here to complete a nomination form.