Every year, the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA) recognizes a certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA) with the Outstanding Professional Service Award. This award honors, “CRNAs who demonstrate exceptional involvement and achievement in the profession of nurse anesthesia, including but not limited to excellence in education, mentoring, practice, rural practice, and management.”

This year, Megan Kakela, DNP, APRN, CRNA, with the University of Minnesota was bestowed with the annual recognition for her role as an educator in the CRNA program and as a clinician working to improve patient safety.

Megan's nomination called out her work in the School of Nursing’s CRNA program where she serves as a highly regarded educator and mentor to students. Clinically, she’s a valued and experienced member of the CRNA call team at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

She decided to become a nurse anesthetist after years of experience in the ICU where she discovered a passion for physiology, pharmacology, and being able to work directly with patients.

“After working in the ICU I realized my love of physiology, pharmacology, and direct patient care was a solid foundation to pursue a degree in nurse anesthesia,” she said. “My love of those topics still remains, and I have found new passions that include education and patient safety.”

megan kakela

She received her nursing degree from the College of Saint Scholastica followed by her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of Iowa.

Congratulations, Megan!