HEATHER PARR ‘15
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center
“The thing I enjoy most about my job is being able to help others during what may be the most traumatic and painful period of their lives,” says Heather Ristau Parr ’15. During her nursing classes at Hiram, Parr studied the history of anesthesia and the early approaches that often did little to put patients at ease during medical procedures. Today, as a certified registered nurse anesthetist, she knows that she can provide the medical support her patients need by using the medical advances of today. “Now that anesthesia is a common practice, I can deliver a safe mixture of medications to allow my patients to be pain free and comfortable both during and after their procedure,” she says.
Parr spends the majority of her day in an operating room. Working alongside a surgeon and other health professionals, she administers carefully prepared anesthetic to keep her patients comfortable and monitors them throughout each procedure. She also assists with obstetrics cases, administering epidural and spinal anesthesia to laboring mothers. “The skills I learned through Hiram’s program helped me to determine the best evidence-based practices to provide high-quality care to my patients,” says Parr.
Prior to her position as an anesthetist, she gained experience in several hospitals in the Ohio area. After graduating with her BSN, she started at University Hospital Portage Medical Center as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit. Looking to expand her training, Parr moved to the Heart and Lung Transplant ICU at Cleveland Clinic, where she was certified in multiple cardiac devices. Having experienced different specialties the health industry, Parr chose to attend Youngstown State University’s nurse anesthesia program. After graduating with her master’s in 2020, she passed her boards and began working at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center.
“Hiram’s nursing program prepared me very well to work with the critically ill,” she says. “The classes were challenging but rewarding, and they really helped me to develop good time management and a strong work ethic.”