Healthcare leader and nursing icon John Garde, has passed away.
Garde, a pioneering leader of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) for many years, died July 21. At the time he was serving as interim executive director of the AANA, having returned to the Association this past February after retiring as executive director in 2001.
The Park Ridge, Ill., resident was among the Who's Who in nurse anesthesia and nursing, dedicating more than 50 years of service to healthcare provider education and patient safety. Among the many highlights of John's storied career, in 1972 he became the first male president of the AANA, the professional association which now represents more than 40,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) across the country. As the AANA's executive director from 1983-2001, John was instrumental in the Association's growth and rise to prominence in the healthcare community.
"All of us at the AANA are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our friend, mentor, leader, and colleague," said AANA President Jackie S. Rowles, CRNA, MBA, MA, FAAPM. "Not only was John an inspiration to nurse anesthetists throughout his career, he also made a lasting impression on healthcare professionals in all fields with his wisdom, thoughtful demeanor, calming influence, and unmistakable leadership qualities. During my term as AANA president, John was always there to provide wise counsel and gentle encouragement. He was one of a kind."
Education, Policy Leader
During his 18 years as AANA executive director, John spearheaded the advancement of nurse anesthesia education programs to a graduate framework; the development of AANA public policy and a federal government affairs office in Washington, D.C., which now manages one of the nation's largest PACs; the attainment of Medicare direct reimbursement for CRNAs; and the formation of the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists.
After his retirement from the AANA in 2001 and prior to his return as interim executive director in 2009, John continued to share his knowledge of the nursing profession through his consulting business and by serving as interim executive director for various associations in leadership transition, including the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Nursing.
About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Founded in 1931 and located in Park Ridge, Ill., the AANA is the professional organization for more than 90 percent of the nation's CRNAs. As advanced practice nurses, CRNAs administer approximately 30 million anesthetics in the United States each year. CRNAs practice in every setting where anesthesia is available and are the sole anesthesia providers in more than two-thirds of all rural hospitals.