Published on October 26, 2021 by Sara Roman  
Heather Rankin

Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing nurse anesthesia alumna Heather J. Rankin ’05 was one of sixty-five inaugural fellows to be inducted to the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA).

According to AANA, the inaugural class of fellows is comprised of highly accomplished leaders with diverse achievements and impactful contributions. Fellows are certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) who have promoted and advanced the profession of nurse anesthesia and AANA through voluntary leadership, advanced skills and training, education, research, advocacy and innovation.

Rankin has served as a CRNA at Children’s of Alabama since 2006 and she is an adjunct faculty member for Samford University’s Department of Nurse Anesthesia. In addition, she is the current AANA Treasurer.

“We are incredibly proud to see Heather recognized with this distinction. Her contributions as a CRNA, instructor and AANA leader have been transformative to the field,” said Terri Cahoon, department of nurse anesthesia chair. “She has immersed herself in service and leadership dating back to her days as a nurse anesthesia student at Samford University.”

During her time at Samford, Rankin served on the Dean's advisory group providing feedback as a member of the inaugural nurse anesthesia cohort. According to Cahoon, her insights provided information that helped refine the processes and policies of the nurse anesthesia program. Rankin has also been transformative in her service to Children’s of Alabama. Within two years of joining the staff as a CRNA, she was elevated to the role of Senior CRNA and served on several departmental committees.

Rankin began her involvement with AANA during her final year in the anesthesia program. Since then, she has served in a variety of positions including, president of the Alabama association and, most recently, treasurer of the national organization. She is credited with transforming the way AANA members vote by initiating and achieving electronic voting at the AANA business meeting. It is through this specific effort that the engagement of CRNAs, SRNAs, legislators and other professional stakeholders in health care delivery have been enhanced.

“Heather continues to increase her sphere of influence, knowledge and skills. Her drive, attention to detail and pursuit of excellence has proven invaluable for her peers, students and the field,” said Cahoon. “She is beyond worthy of this distinction.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.