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Sasha Griffith on Studying Anesthesiology… and Why You Should Always Pack Your Lunch

Sasha Griffith on a medical mission in Haiti
Sasha on a medical mission in Haiti

While all of our members at Groundwork are hardworking and motivated, Sasha Griffith may take the cake. Juggling a career as a nurse and an intensive Master’s program, Sasha is always uber-focused when she is at GW. Busyness aside, she always takes the time to introduce herself to other members, and I can count on her to be my eyes and ears at Groundwork during early morning and weekend hours. Sasha is friendly and full of energy, and her ability to manage multiple roles– nurse, student, mom– is nothing short of inspiring. Read on for some insight into Sasha’s routine. (And be forewarned, this interview might make you feel like an underachiever!)

What’s your profession? 

I am a pediatric cardiac intensive care nurse who is currently enrolled at Boston College, The Connell School of Nursing Master’s program to become a certified nurse anesthetist.  

Describe a typical work day for you.

As a CICU nurse, I arrive at Boston Children’s Hospital at 0630, get a report on my assigned patient and begin my day. We care for all patients with congenital or acquired cardiac disease. The age range is wide, from neonates to older adults with complex cardiac physiology. Most of our patients undergo some type of surgical intervention and most of our care is tailored at getting them through the post-operative period to eventually get them to a step-down cardiac unit.  

As a graduate student, I am in the classroom all day Monday, while Tuesday through Thursday I am in the OR at SouthShore Hospital in Weymouth. As a student nurse anesthetist, I am there to learn the ropes!  Intubation and extubation, medication maintenance during surgery, insertion or arterial lines and central lines, neuraxial anesthesia (spinals/epidurals/regional anesthesia), and pain management are the main caveats of our job.  

What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job?

As a CICU RN, the biggest challenge I face at work is critical thinking under pressure in stressful situations while maintaining open and honest communication with the patients’ families. We have an amazing team that supports the patient and it takes a wide variety of team members to do this. 

As a student nurse anesthetist, the most challenging thing is time management between studying and seeing family while simultaneously writing care plans for the following days of surgeries. After being a nurse for 10 years, having to learn a new and different role is challenging!  Being new and not being proficient at many tasks can take a toll on your emotions.

Sasha Griffith, studying to be a nurse anesthetist

Do you have a morning routine?

My morning routine is very quick these days.  All of my belongings and food are packed and ready to go. I have to be in the OR for 0600 in the AM and I leave New Bedford at 0430 to get to Weymouth. Most first cases in the OR start at 0700, so having your room, medications, and anesthesia machine ready to go early is key to not having the surgeons get upset with you! 

What are your favorite productivity tips or hacks?

I am a planner, lunch packer, and list maker!  It keeps me motivated to get things done. I like to have all my snacks and meals prepped and ready to go.  It also saves me time and money throughout the day.  

What do you listen to during the day?

I tend to listen to NPR in the car and if I am stuck on Rte 3 or 93 I listen to comedy on Amazon Music or Pandora.

How do you benefit from using a coworking space?

Groundwork changed my study-life!  I started school in January and all the libraries were closed. There is no possible way to study at home with a toddler and to drive to my campus at Chestnut Hill was out of the question. I was desperate for a quiet space and Groundwork has given me that and so much more!  

What’s in your digital toolbox?

The apps I use daily are: 

  • GoodNotes (note taking app for my iPad) 
  • Vargo (anesthesia app) 
  • Motivation (sends you motivational messages throughout the day) 
  • Peloton (try to work out at least 3 times per week and they make it so easy!)
  • Amazon Music
  • Marco Polo (to connect with my peers at school throughout the day)

What inspires you?

As cliche as it sounds, my son is my inspiration. I never thought I would be able to do such an intense program after having a child. My husband and my family have all sacrificed a lot to help get me through this program. This whole process is to get a better quality of life!  I have 614 days left… but who’s counting?  

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