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Congratulations to Dr. Kathleen O'Donnell

Wednesday, July 12, 2017  
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Pictured, left to right: Dr. Vincent P. Verdile, Dean Albany Medical College, Dr. Kathleen O'Donnell, CRNA, PhD, Robert T. Cushing, Chair, Albany Medical Center Board of Directors

NYSANA congratulates Kathleen O'Donnell, CRNA, PhD on receiving honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the Albany Medical College during Commencement exercises earlier this year.

The honorary degree recognizes individuals who have made profound contributions to patient care, biomedical research and medical education. Dr. O’Donnell was the first nurse, and nurse anesthetist, to be recognized with the honorary degree by the Albany Medical College.

Dr. Kathleen M. O’Donnell dedicated her career as an anesthesia provider, and educator of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), to the Albany Medical Center Hospital (AMCH) and Albany Medical College (AMC). She joined the AMCH CRNA staff in the early 1960s. Dr. O’Donnell demonstrated early her abilities as an anesthesia provider, and was the anesthesia department’s chief CRNA for many years. Although her role as anesthesia provider was her love, education was her passion. In 1976 she was appointed director of the AMCH School for Nurse Anesthetists. It is as a result of her foresight and commitment to education that the graduate program for nurse anesthetists, and the Center for Nurse Anesthesiology, were developed under the auspices of the AMC. She served as Center Director until her retirement in 2007.

The AMC Nurse Anesthesiology Program has been recognized as one of the top nurse anesthesia education programs in the US.  Demographic studies have demonstrated that the majority of CRNA providers in the greater capital region, in western and northern New York, and western Massachusetts, are graduates of the AMCH School for Nurse Anesthetists and AMC Center for Nurse Anesthesiology.  By her example, and through her mentorship, she instilled in those CRNAs the belief that excellence in clinical practice must include a commitment to patient advocacy and lifelong learning.  

Dr. O’Donnell is a graduate of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Lawrence, MA, and the Dartmouth-Mary Hitchcock Hospital School of Anesthesia. She received her undergraduate degree in professional studies from Empire State College, a graduate degree in public service administration from Russell Sage College and a doctoral degree in educational administration from SUNY Albany. Dr. O’Donnell is a past president of the New York State Association of Nurse Anesthetists, former chair of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs (the agency that sanctions the system of nurse anesthesia education in the United States), and former member of the board of directors of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She has been recognized by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists as the Outstanding Nurse Anesthesia Program Director and the Outstanding Educator Helen Lamb Award. Currently she is a chair reviewer for the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs, and a Commissioner on the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.



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