SRNA Opioid Free Anesthesia Research

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Discovering OFA

I first learned of opioid free anesthesia (OFA) through discussions on the CRNAs and SRNAs forum on Facebook. I quickly saw that these posts elicited very polarized views, ranging from OFA being the wave of the future and best thing we can do for patients to it being ridiculous idea, unnecessary, and ineffective. As an SRNA, finding an emerging controversial research topic like OFA was a fantastic opportunity. Although, there has been some research done on OFA, a great deal remains to be determined about the benefits, cost-effectiveness, and populations it best serves.

Professional Networking

I first noticed the topic of OFA during the middle of my nurse anesthesia education (too late to make it my DNP project), so I chose to explore OFA in obese patients for an evidence-based practice analysis paper (essentially, a short systematic review of the evidence for a particular clinical question). I reached out to Tom Baribeault on Facebook seeking additional resources since he was one of the people posting a lot about OFA. Tom later founded SOFA, and asked me to be a board member. I now have my completed research paper, and it is published on the SOFA website. As a student, reaching out and networking in the CRNA community is more important than I ever realized. I encourage all SRNAs to reach out to CRNAs who are experts in their field of research. You never know where it may lead you.

Adoption of New Techniques

The main reason why I chose to do my paper on OFA in obese patients, was that a large part of the controversy surrounding OFA was the lack of an abundance of strong evidence. Is this a technique that CRNAs would want to immediately integrate into their practice for all their patients? What about applying OFA only to certain patient populations? I think applying new techniques like this is similar to investing. You have more aggressive investors who are willing to jump in early and take the larger risk, but ultimately reap the largest reward if successful. Moderately risk-averse investors may try adopting these techniques for certain populations, such as sleep apnea patients who are at high risk for airway complications from narcotics. The very conservative investors need to see a great deal of repeated evidence and colleagues demonstrate success before investing in something new.

SOFA & SRNA Research

Evidence should be a very important part of the decision to adopt new techniques in one’s practice. The growing emphasis on DNP education of CRNAs relies heavily on the concept of translational research. Sung et al. (2003) defines translational research as “translation of results from clinical studies into everyday clinical practice and health decision making” (p. 1279). This type of research is intended to bridge the gap between research and practice, making the practice of evidence-based care more of a reality. Capstone projects, DNP projects, and other scholarly endeavors in nurse anesthesia education programs are aimed toward this goal of generating translational research. SOFA recognizes the important role of student-generated research, and sees the potential for great partnership in contributing to the knowledge base and evidence for OFA. SRNAs have an opportunity in their education to create meaningful and important pieces of research. SOFA wants to support SRNAs who are interested in researching OFA by providing them with a free year-long membership with access to our growing community of resources- both research and practical tools in our member resources section and networking with other CRNAs and SRNAs in the forums. This is a great opportunity to be able to contribute to the body of growing evidence on OFA, and to get your research disseminated through the SOFA website.



Melnyk, B. M. (2013). Distinguishing the preparation and roles of doctor of philosophy and doctor of nursing practice graduates: National implications for academic curricula and health care systems. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(8), 442–448. doi:

Sung, N. S., Crowley, W. F., Genel, M., Salber, P., Sandy, L., Sherwood, L. M., … Rimoin, D. (2003). Central challenges facing the national clinical research enterprise. Journal of the American Medical Association, 289(10), 1278–1287. doi:

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