The Nurse Anesthetists Of the South Texas VA

South Texas VA Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas employs 15 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), that complete roughly 250 procedures every month, and assist on another 160. The following images come from an average day in the surgical ward at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital.

Army Captain Debra Valdivesio, gets ready to administer anesthesia for a surgical patient. Valdivesio works at the South Texas VA as part of her Army Medical Department Center & School (AMEDDC&S) program. She is supervised by a qualified instructor from the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hospital. In addition to the hundreds of procedures completed by the South Texas CRNA's, they also train the next generation of CRNA's and anesthesiologists from the UT Health Care System and AMEDD, like Capt. Valdivesio.

The educational collaboration with AMEDD comes naturally to the South Texas VA CRNA's because 90 percent of them are Veterans, so they speak the same language.

CRNA and Air Force Veteran Cindy Schmelz

CRNA and Navy Veteran Rick Winters

CRNA and Army Veteran Ricardo Eversley

CRNA Shirley Doepke

I wanted the education and the ability to take care of my own patients - CRNA and Army Veteran Denise Eisel

The professional and competent CRNAs featured in these photos go through an intense certification process and must fulfill the following requirements to reach CRNA status.

  • Bachelors Degree in Nursing
  • Hold a Registered Nurse's License
  • Minimum of one year in acute care
  • Letters of reference
  • Completion of 2 -3 years of a U.S. accredited CRNA school
  • Successfully pass the National Certification exam
Tools of the trade
CRNA Instructor and Army Veteran John Craig
CRNA Denise Eisel
"CRNAs by nature are very independent people, but pull together well to accomplish the task of getting the job done safely." Cindy Schmelz


The surgical Service at South Texas VA Medical Center is one of the busiest in the largest healthcare system in the U.S., and the anesthesia department is the tip of the spear, performing over 400 procedures monthly using a team model of anesthesiologists, CRNA's and anesthesiology residents. CRNA's complete about 250 of them. That level of competence comes with years of knowledge and training. South Texas patients benefit from their 329 years of experience in anesthesia, and even more in nursing and patient care.

Most of the staff have continued their education to the graduate and even PhD level.
Created By
Steven Goetsch


Steve Goetsch

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