Well-being Word

May 12, 2022

The Well-being Word

May 12, 2022

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

Have you ever considered how diversity affects the well-being of a group? It is proven that mental health and well-being are very closely linked to the feeling of inclusion and diversity. An inclusive, diverse workplace culture fosters a sense of belonging, psychological and physical safety, improved purpose and increased engagement! There is a reason that Dr. Ablordeppey and I work so closely together. We understand that at a fundamental level, well-being is inclusiveness and we are working hard to make sure that here in the Department of Anesthesiology we recognize and celebrate the many unique backgrounds, experiences, genders, races, and ethnicities that all belong here. However, improving diversity and well-being takes hard work by us all. By taking small, concerted steps, we are moving toward a departmental culture where all can thrive.

I challenge you this month to consider how your current surroundings and professional sphere influence your personal sense of belonging. Attempt also to view your surroundings through the lens of someone who identifies as a different gender, race, or ethnicity. Would they view it with the same sense of belonging and safety as you? 

One small act of inclusion that we can all undertake this week is showing the community at large that here in the department of Anesthesiology we value the many contributions the African American community makes to this city and celebrate the amazing diversity here in St. Louis. Join us walking in the Annie Malone May Day Parade THIS SUNDAY and share in this joyful day of celebration! Please spend an hour walking with us to show the community we value diversity and champion change!

Yours in wellness, 


Annie Malone Parade

May 15 @1 p.m.
Downtown St. Louis

Celebrate the amazing diversity in St. Louis by walking with the Department of Anesthesiology in the Annie Malone Parade, the second largest African-American parade in the country!

Meet us at the North-side of Market (beginning at Beaumont) between 11:30a-12p. Be sure to bring a water bottle!

Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

A Day in the Life of Abby Hughes-Strange

Abby Hughes-Strange, CRNA, gives us a glimpse into her everyday life as the Lead CRNA for Progress West Hospital.

A Day in the Life: Abby Hughes-Strange

5:45a – My alarm goes off! If I give myself any extra time than the bare minimum, I will snooze and then wake up too late. I have found that 30 minutes is the exact amount of time I need to get up and out the door. I take a minute or two after the alarm goes off to take some deep breaths and do a mental check-in to get ready for the day. I let my dog outside, make coffee and I’m out the door. My family is usually still asleep by the time I leave the house at 6:15.  

A glamorous selfie of me at my parking spot on this day with the hospital behind me. And, my shameless plug to recruit anyone to the Progress call pool! Look how close you can park! Take call from home! Get called in ~ 30% of the time! Make more money! Right off highway 40, just minutes from Chesterfield! Contact me for more information!! 

6:35a – I arrive at work, walk in, set up the OR room, and chat with the staff. We have a great small team at PWH. The anesthesia department at PWH is 6 full-time CRNAs and 6 anesthesiologists, some of whom are solely Progress and others that split their time. Our awesome former chief, Chak Lattanand, is now a 50% PWH MD and our loss is the department’s gain as he takes on the role of vice-chair for clinical operations. Isabella Riordan is our new chief and we are so glad she is here! We also have the hardest working anesthesia tech in St. Charles County, Sue McHugh. We are so grateful she is part of the team at Progress.  

7:00a – Off to the OR!  It’s a total knee ortho day.  We do a lot of orthopedics, general surgery, gyn, GU, and we have a new group of neuro back surgeons. We also have 2 GI rooms. There were just under 1000 deliveries at Progress last year, so c-sections are fairly common too. I love the variety of cases that we do here! All of my cases today are spinals. The CRNAs do most of the spinals here.  

11:30a – Lunch time! I usually eat in the cafeteria and join any pre/post, OR or GI staff that are eating down there. It is nice to eat with a different group every day.

3:15p My cases are done for the day and I get to head out. I am an 8 hour CRNA. We have 10 and 12 hour shifts as well. We have early and late days as 8s also, and my out times vary widely depending on staff vacations, daily case volume, and number assignment. I really love it when I can get home by 4:00 because…  

Me with my personal trainer Sam and spotter Stella! 

4:00p – This is my brief time at home alone! If I get this time, I will do a 20 minute workout on Apple Fitness Plus (non sponsored!!). I know there are some huge Peloton people out there, but if you already own an apple watch I highly recommend Apple Fitness. It is $10/month and has so many workouts, a lot of which you don’t need any additional equipment. I will alternate between HIIT, strength and pilates. 

4:45p I start kid pickup! We have two daughters. Maisie is 2.5 and goes to daycare, Lila is 5.5 and in kindergarten. My husband Tom is a teacher and coaches in the fall and the spring as well. During those times of the year, I do school pick up most days. Weather and sunlight permitting, we will try and do something outside before starting dinner.

6:00p – It’s time to throw together something for dinner and eat as a family. I try to catch up with Tom and talk about our days while keeping the girls in their seats. 

{left} I’m about to say “after you go down the slide, it’s time to go” and then we end up there for another 10 minutes.  
{right} Nachos for dinner! If it were up to our kids, Stella would sit at the table with us.  

7:00p – We start the bedtime routine; it takes us a little under an hour to complete it all.  

8:30p – Phew, dinner is cleaned up and we are organized for the next morning. Time to unwind with a good TV show. I also love jigsaw puzzles! 

9:30p – Ideally, I’m heading up to bed at this point in my day. I read for a few minutes and try to go to bed around 10, which often ends up being 10:30. Set the alarm for tomorrow morning!  

WashU Mental Health Resources

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Support your mental well-being with WashU resources that range from one-on-one counseling, psychiatry services, mindfulness programs, webinars, tools and app’s. Find the care you need on the Mental Health Hub and know you are not alone – reach out for help and care when you need it. Resources are also available for family members.

Thrive tip: Try completing a “self-check-in” and find ways to support yourself in this month’s Thrive article featuring psychiatrist, Jessica Gold, MD.

Preventing burnout with the help of Cal

None of us are strangers to burnout—a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress—but taking a moment to acknowledge and create a plan for addressing that exhaustion can bring us peace amid stressful seasons. Together, let’s learn how to recognize the signs and find relief, with the help of the Calm app:

Anesthesiology’s Day at the Farm

Thank you to all who joined us at Anesthesiology’s Day at the farm! We hope you enjoyed the activities, and had a good time with your friends and family!