Nancy Curll enjoys interacting with patients but misses independence as a military CRNA


As a U.S. Navy veteran and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), Nancy Curll is focused on providing patients with high-quality anesthesia care, but she also wants nurse anesthetists to work to the full extent of their education and training. After working as a CRNA for nearly 24 years in countries around the world via the Navy, she has cared for many critically-ill patients. However, after retiring from the military, she’s witnessed some of the limitations experienced by civilian anesthesia nurses.

Nancy worked as a civilian intensive care unit nurse for eight years before joining the Navy in 1983. She applied to the Navy Nurse Anesthesia Program in 1990 and ended up attending a civilian nurse anesthesia program at the same level I trauma center in North Carolina where she currently works today.

Upon graduation, she was assigned to Naval Medical facilities in Italy and Japan, where she autonomously cared for the anesthesia needs of several thousand people in naval hospitals and onboard ships.

“When I was stationed on the ship, I was the anesthesia department,” said Nancy. “I worked independently without an anesthesiologist. We didn’t have many emergencies, but we did perform surgical cases while at sea.”

CRNAs are educated and trained to perform anesthesia services on anyone. While on active duty, Nancy performed regional blocks, spinals and epidurals. Since retiring from the Navy in 2004, she’s had limited opportunities to perform regional anesthesia techniques.

Nancy pointed out that at many of North Carolina’s rural hospitals’ anesthesia is administered solely by nurse anesthetists without the presence of an anesthesiologist and CRNAs have the opportunity to perform a full range of anesthesia services, including regional anesthesia.

In May, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) published a proposed rule extending full practice authority to CRNAs, which would allow nurse anesthetists working in the VA to provide anesthesia services without the oversight of physician. Nancy wrote her letter to the VA as well as made a flyer to distribute to the Southern Mid-Atlantic Navy Nurse Corps Association, a group comprised of former Navy nurses living in Virginia and northern North Carolina. The chapter is a part of the Navy Nurse Corps Association, which promotes camaraderie, service and Navy nursing and 

Nancy has been a member for 10 years.

“I felt it was important to inform the members of my group about the proposed rule in the VA because most of them have likely been cared for in the VA system,” said Nancy. “I wanted to present them with the information and allow them to form their own opinions. Several have visited the website,, supporting full practice authority for CRNAs and APRNs within the VA system”.