Horizon Health Anesthesia Provider Receives University Excellence Award

Horizon Health Anesthesia Provider Receives University Excellence Award

As an anesthesia and pain management specialist, Scott Williamson’s commitment to his profession goes beyond the walls of Horizon Health.

As a certified registered nurse anesthetist and anesthesia manager at Horizon Health, Scott is a longtime clinical instructor for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) nurse anesthesia program. The school recently presented Scott with its Pain Management Preceptor Excellence Award for his continued support as a preceptor and mentor in the specialized fields of regional anesthesia and pain management.

“I’m proud of it,” Scott said of the award. “I’ve been a clinical preceptor for over a decade and have an interest in helping future generations acquire the skills they need.”

Peripheral nerve blocks involve injecting a local anesthetic (numbing agent) near a nerve to block pain for a prolonged period. They are an alternative to general anesthesia and central nerve blocks for surgery.

What Students Are Saying

SIUE student Caleb Culbreath nominated Scott for the award. Students rarely get to perform peripheral nerve blocks as part of their training, which makes Horizon Health so unique, he wrote.

“[Scott] embodies the teaching philosophy of ‘learn by doing’ and stands out as exceptional,” Caleb said. “His dedication to the profession, passion for teaching, and unyielding commitment to student success make him an invaluable asset to the SIUE community and the broader anesthesia profession.”

Like Caleb, SIUE student Betsy Hamlin said Horizon Health provided a unique opportunity for specialty training in acute surgical pain management.

“Coming here I’ve been able to do more peripheral nerve blocks by far than previous clinic sites,” she said. “If you don’t have a lot of repetition, it’s hard to retain the skill you’re trying to acquire.”

Horizon Health has been a clinical site for graduate-level nursing students pursuing specialty training in anesthesia for many years. Through its direct affiliation program with SIUE, senior nurse anesthetist students attend clinical rotations at Paris Community Hospital as part of their education.

Nationally Recognized

Horizon Health is one of only seven clinical training sites in the country for the Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship, a nationally accredited program for experienced CRNAs through the American Academy of Nurse Anesthetists. Other training sites are in Alabama, California, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The post-graduate program allows practicing CRNAs to learn advanced techniques for managing a patient’s pain surrounding surgery. These include the use of non-narcotic alternatives, multimodal approaches (utilizing several different medications to block diverse pain pathways), as well as the use of peripheral nerve blocks.

The Horizon Health Anesthesia Department was chosen because of its unique and extensive experience with peripheral nerve blocks. These skills are separate and distinct from providing anesthesia for surgeries. Blocks are most often administered to patients in an outpatient setting as a component of their pain management treatment.