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Daniel KingDr. Daniel King has been elected to the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) Board of Directors. His role will help ensure the AANA's productive functions to advance, support and protect nurse anesthesiology.

King, an Evansville native and graduate of Reitz High School, is an Associate Professor in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthesia Program at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, College of Nursing in North Chicago, Illinois. In addition, he works as a nurse anesthesiologist* and is the owner of DreamLion Anesthesia, which administers anesthesia services in the Greater Chicago area and educational and consultative services throughout the country.

After graduating with his BSN from USI in 2010, he earned his Master of Nurse Anesthesia in 2016 from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, School of Health Sciences and a Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2020 from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

*In May 2019, AANA’s Board of Directors voted to recognize “nurse anesthesiologist” as a descriptor synonymous with “nurse anesthetist.” AANA recognizes the following descriptors to identify nurse anesthetists: “Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist,” “CRNA,” “nurse anesthetist,” and “nurse anesthesiologist.” Although these descriptors are recognized by AANA, each CRNA/nurse anesthesiologist should be aware of and comply with the title requirements of federal and state laws and facilities in which they practice. Visit the AANA webpage for more information.

Q&A with Dr. Daniel King

Who or what inspired you to major in nursing? Growing up with respiratory issues often landed me in the hospital, where I would curiously peer out from an oxygen tent, captivated by the bustling healthcare environment and the dedicated nurses working around me. My innate curiosity was further nurtured by shadowing my mother, a registered nurse and physician extender at a local cardiology practice. I was instantly hooked. The hospital felt like a second home, and the chance to contribute meaningfully to the community was incredibly compelling. Following my mother's footsteps, I discovered that nursing is consistently one of the most respected professions, offering numerous pathways for advancement and personal fulfillment. Choosing this career remains one of the best decisions I have ever made.

What led you to nurse anesthesiology? While working in trauma and neurosurgery critical care as a bedside nurse, I discovered the profession of nurse anesthesiology. I had been exploring advanced practice roles, and nurse anesthesiology captivated me with its unique blend of critical scientific thinking and the autonomy to perform procedural interventions such as intubation, line insertion and the titration of various drugs. What truly inspired me, however, was the profound responsibility and honor of advocating for patients who cannot speak for themselves. These individuals lie vulnerable and defenseless under anesthesia, often facing the most critical moments of their lives. To provide anesthesia, alleviate pain and suffering and safely guide patients through such stressful experiences is, to me, the highest privilege imaginable.

Why did you choose USI? As a local, I grew up cheering on the Screaming Eagles and was already familiar with the warm southern hometown campus. When I decided to pursue nursing, I headed to campus and met with Marie Palladino, the first of many supportive faculty and staff members to guide my journey. She believed in my potential, and I had full confidence in the program's proven success. Additionally, I had the incredible opportunity to join the cheerleading team, where we achieved a second place finish at the college national championship while I was a nursing student. Combined academic excellence and athletic achievements made USI a perfect choice, and I loved my time there.

What is a favorite memory of the nursing program at USI? Reflecting on my time at USI, I'm grateful for the friendships that shaped my journey. With colleagues turned lifelong and supportive friends like Amber Gilles and Chardae Kelly, we shared laughter and strength through every challenge. The impact of my professors, including Dr. Connie Swenty, Dr. Jeri Burger, Melissa Warthen and Dr. Tracy Kinner, cannot be overstated. Their dedication to bridging classroom learning with real-world application has been instrumental in my growth as a healthcare professional. One clinical experience stands out vividly: the unexpected opportunity to deliver a baby in the emergency room for a precipitously laboring mother just passing through town. Inspired and enamored by clinical experiences such as this, I eagerly embraced a nurse externship at the esteemed Mayo Clinic while a USI student. This opportunity expanded my clinical skills and set me on a trajectory toward realizing my professional aspirations.

Would you encourage anyone considering nursing to choose USI? Without hesitation, I recommend the Nursing Program at USI because of its high-quality standards, rigor and solid reputation within the healthcare community. The curriculum is comprehensive across the lifespan and implemented in state-of-the-art facilities. Perhaps most importantly, students feel supported by experienced and caring faculty from diverse clinical backgrounds and a commitment to community service and engagement.

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