We recently sat down with Crystal A. Grant, a nurse anesthesiologist, who has just released a short book for kids about the power of being a healthcare provider. She wants to show young people, especially young people of color, what it means to serve your community and how nurses can double as real-life superheroes.
She discusses her dream of pursuing a career in medicine and how it has affected her understanding of the community. Read the full interview below to learn more about her new book:
My name is Crystal Grant. I’m originally from Springfield, Massachusetts – a small town. After high school, my mother was diagnosed with stage four uterine cancer with a very poor prognosis, and I knew I would need a career that would allow me to provide for myself while rewarding me for caring for others. She passed away at the beginning of my junior year of nursing school in September of 2000.
In 2002, I graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with my BSN and began my ICU nursing career in Raleigh, NC. I did a plethora of different jobs over the next eight years before finally deciding to apply to CRNA school. I had only heard about the CRNA profession once, very briefly in my Nursing 101 course back at A&T.
My brother, Ty, encouraged me to follow my dream career, and I began applying the same month that he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. I applied to seven programs, was interviewed by six, rejected by four, waitlisted by one, and finally got my “Yes” at Rutgers University, Newark. I graduated with my MSN in Nurse Anesthesia in December of 2012, and the rest has been history.
I decided to write this book because I feel like the CRNA profession is a hidden secret in nursing. Prior to social media, we weren’t talked about, we weren’t really seen, and people had rarely ever heard of the profession unless they knew someone already in it. Young readers should be taught about this profession early on, so that they know about it and can prepare to do it straight out of high school.
We know that children are like sponges, and sometimes all they need is a little bit of guidance. This is my way of guiding them to a career in nursing or nurse anesthesia, if they so choose. I would like to light the torch for others who may have no clue what they want to be when they grow up, and my hope is that this lights a fire for them to come into the nurse anesthesia world.
I chose to include Everett because he is an awesome example for young readers to see. Everett is family oriented, he has been a firefighter, a paramedic, a Registered Nurse, and is now on the path to becoming a CRNA. His credential list alone sets the bar extremely high, as he is one out of only twenty nurses in the nation who holds the amount of credentialing behind his name.
He is a great role model for young readers to look up to, even if they decide not to become CRNAs. They can look at his lists of credentials and say, “Oh hey, what’s that one?” or “How did he get that one?” and they can be just as, if not more, successful than he is. I also think it’s important for young men to see a powerhouse as a black male nurse, and to let them know that they can do it, too. Nursing isn’t just for women. The face of nursing heroes comes in many different shapes, shades, and sizes. So, I think a better question would’ve been, “Why NOT Everett?”
My first hope is that young readers will enjoy this quick read and want to know more about the profession of nurse anesthesia. I’m hoping young black males will look at this book and see themselves represented in a positive way that is not commonly portrayed. I’d like young people to know that no matter the circumstances life has given them, their lives matter, there is someone rooting for them to win, and the sky is the limit to their potential.
I announced the upcoming June 26th release of this book on Juneteenth, which is an historical celebration for Americans, especially for those in the African American community because it celebrates part of American history. The reason that we celebrate this holiday, even 150 years later, is because it is commemorating accomplishments of the black community from the past, present and future.
In 2020, we have more interracial couples, blended families, and parents of children of different nationalities more so now than ever before. This book can help parents of any race who have black children learn about the nurse anesthesia profession with representation from a character who looks like them.
The recent events that are being televised and publicized are unfortunately not new events in the black community. If a business would like to stock my book as a way to educate the black community regarding this awesome profession, I would be very grateful. I’ve always lived by the motto that If I can just help one person, then my mission is accomplished.
My upcoming plans include moving to a new state, which hosts much warmer temps than New England. I’m also going to work on the second book in the Super CRNA series that’ll delve even more into what we actually do as nurse anesthetists. I have so many great ideas for where I want this series to go. I’ll also be continuing on my debt-free journey, as I’ve paid off over $360,000 worth of debt since 2016, which I describe in my first book Acceptance Granted: One Woman’s Journey to becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. I’ll also continue to help others work towards their debt-free journeys with the teachings of my second book, My Net Worth Journal. All of these can be purchased on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/thesixfigurecrna.
Crystal starts out the book with a positive message for young readers:
“I would like to encourage every young reader of this book to push past the limitations that surround you. Set your sights high and aim for your goals. Always remember that there is someone out there willing to help you and to support those goals. I hope you enjoy it!”
After the main character’s father suffers a heart attack, he goes to the local hospital where he meets a CRNA. You can find an excerpt from the book below:
I didn’t know what to say to Pops. But then, I saw someone come in. A man in a blue uniform. He started drawing up different medicines for Pops.
“You must be Ty,” said the man. “I’m Mike.”
“Are you a doctor?” I asked
“No, I have a doctorate degree, but I’m a nurse anesthetist, or CRNA.”
“A what?” I asked.
“I’m the one giving Pops his sleeping medicine for his surgery. I make sure he’s safe and comfortable during his operation, that he stays asleep while the heart surgeon is operating and that he wakes up safely when his surgery is over.”
To learn more about the author and Everett, you can find them on social media.
Follow me on Instagram @crysgcrna.
Follow Everett @the_paramurse.