Blythewood resident named President of State Nurse Anesthetists Association


BLYTHEWOOD – Candace Anne Aguiar, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and resident of Blythewood, was recently introduced as the 2020-21 president of the 1,400-member South Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists (S.C.A.N.A.) during the association’s virtual annual conference. Aguiar, who practices in Columbia, earned her Doctorate in Nursing Anesthesia Practice from Texas Wesleyan University in 2018.

“It’s an incredibly humbling experience when a group of your peers places their faith and confidence in your abilities, said Aguiar. “My number one goal is to bring quality, safe, affordable anesthesia care to South Carolinians through passage of legislation to remove physician supervision of nurse anesthetists in South Carolina.”

CRNAs are anesthesia specialists who practice in every type of healthcare setting where anesthesia is required for surgical, obstetrical, trauma stabilization and pain management procedures. Every year, 53,000 nurse anesthetists safely deliver more than 45 million anesthetics to patients across the United States. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these airway experts have provided essential front-line services such as caring for patients in respiratory distress, operating ventilators and managing intensive care units (ICUs).

Aguiar takes over the S.C.A.N.A. presidency after two decades of service in the U.S. Army and nearly a decade as a civilian CRNA. During college, she realized the Army would satisfy her desire to travel more than a classroom and enlisted as a medic in 1989. Her enlistment took her as far as South Korea and landed her in Louisiana, where she completed her term of service in 1992. After a year-long deployment to Iraq with the 102nd Forward Surgical Team as the ICU Nurse in Charge, her military career led her to the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN). She graduated from USAGPAN in December 2008.

Aguiar’s first duty station as a nurse anesthetist was Fort Jackson. In 2012, after living in 10 states and two countries, she left the Army to make South Carolina her home.

“The military has long recognized the quality, safety and value of the anesthesia care nurse anesthetists provide,” said Aguiar. “The military recognizes nurse anesthetists as independent providers certified to provide the full spectrum of anesthesia care. As a military-trained CRNA, I was not subjected to restrictions on my practice until I applied for my South Carolina license. In South Carolina, the law has created an environment where years of education and experience — and ultimately the value of my national board certification — have been diminished due to legislated discrimination in favor of one profession over another. I have made it my mission to educate South Carolina about the profession of nurse anesthesia.”

In her spare time, Aguiar enjoys riding her motorcycle with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, gardening, and the South Carolina restaurant scene. Her son, Ian, is a sophomore at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, and she and her husband, Joao, live with three English bulldogs, three cats and too many chickens.

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