Newswise — Park Ridge, Ill. – The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) presented Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Sandra Kilde, EdD, CRNA, with the Agatha Hodgins Award during its 2021 Virtual Congress, August 13-17.

The Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment was established in 1975 to recognize individuals whose foremost dedication to excellence has furthered the art and science of nurse anesthesia. The award was established to honor Agatha Hodgins (1877-1945), founder and first president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

The 2021 Annual Congress marks Kilde’s 51st consecutive year of attendance.  According to her nomination, “her profound dedication and commitment to [the] profession is unequaled and clearly has advanced the art and science of anesthesia in ways that continue to impact us today.”

Kilde, who served as AANA president from 1981-1982, has been positive force for the nurse anesthesiology profession for more than five decades and instrumental in the field of nurse anesthesia education. With less than one year of CRNA experience, in 1968 she became program director at the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia, a role she would have for more than 28 years. During this time, she spearheaded moving the curriculum from an 18-month certificate program to a 27-month Master of Science degree.

During her tenure as president, the AANA Board of Directors recommended that all applicants for a nurse anesthesia program have a baccalaureate degree prior to admission. According to her nomination, this vision was the first action taken that led to all students to graduating with clinical doctoral degrees by 2025.  Kilde herself is one of the first CRNAs in the country to obtain a doctoral degree, earning a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  

“I have been an avid supporter of the AANA since I became a CRNA in 1967. The Agatha Hodgins award is the highest award my professional association can give. Thank you, Board of Directors, for selecting me and the CRNAs who nominated and supported me,” Kilde said. “I am in awe of the group of past Agatha Hodgins award recipients and honored to join them.”

Kilde also was instrumental in developing the first continuing education program for nurse anesthetists and served as chair of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). “…Sandra has spent her career as an educator and practitioner who is dedicated to excellence in education, practice and service,” her nomination cited.

Prior to her retirement from clinical practice in 2008, Kilde was staff anesthetist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minn., and adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn.

In addition to serving as president for both organizations, she served on numerous AANA and Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists committees. Kilde received the AANA Program Director of the Year award in 1992 and the Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator award in 2005.

In addition to her doctor of education degree, Kilde graduated from the Luther Hospital School of Nursing in Eau Claire, Wis., and the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia. She has a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn., and a master’s degree in adult education from University of St. Thomas, also in St. Paul.