Renae Crow, RN, BSN, VA-BC

Infusion and Treatment Center

My husband Hector and I, and our two children Mason and Madison, moved to Columbia from a small town in northeast Missouri in 2010. I graduated from Moberly Area Community College in 2005 with an Associate Degree in Nursing and went on to earn my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2018 from Central Methodist University. I’ve also been Vascular Access Board-Certified since 2017.

Why did you get into the health care field?

Growing up in a small town, job opportunities were very limited. I began working at the local nursing home when I was in high school. After graduation, still unsure of the career path I wanted to pursue, I became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at the nursing home. After a couple years working as a CNA I’d discovered my calling, and so my Registered Nurse journey began.

What interested you in your particular specialty?

Vascular access is the most frequently performed invasive procedure in healthcare, from inserting a peripheral intravenous catheter in a clinic setting to central lines in intensive care. Patient safety is my top priority, and vascular access allows me to promote vessel health and preservation in a variety of patient care settings.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing the relief and gratitude on my patient’s face after inserting a vascular access device in one stick! Many patients are very anxious when they need venipuncture. By the time I get to the room, their anxiety is usually through the roof as a result of multiple failed attempts. By acknowledging their anxiety, listening to their concerns and experiences, and talking to them through the procedure I can give the patient a sense of trust and confidence that I have their best interest at heart.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

To be honest, the lack of standardized education for vascular access in healthcare educational programs. This goes for all disciplines performing vascular access: nursing, physicians, respiratory therapists, radiology technologists, phlebotomists. We all access the same vascular system; however, the education we receive is very different and often lacking.

What has changed in your field since you started practicing?

The biggest change I’ve seen is that vascular access is becoming recognized as a true specialty. Vascular Access Specialist RNs are inserting more advanced lines such as internal jugular catheters, tunneled dialysis catheters, and other procedures previously performed primarily by physicians. Advances in technology have also greatly evolved. Ultrasound, infrared technology and improved products such as securement devices and dressings have decreased complications for our patients.

What do you see changing in the next 5 to 10 years?

Healthcare has already experienced so many changes over recent years as a result of the pandemic, with telehealth being one of the biggest. I think we’ll continue to see big changes in our care delivery model as a result of shortages at the bedside in all disciplines.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy being outdoors, except in the winter, and I’m not a big fan of the cold. I enjoy hiking, playing golf with my husband, and quiet time on my deck watching birds. As a new empty-nester, I am finding more free time and look forward to exploring new hobbies.

What advice would you give someone looking to become a nurse?

Keep an open mind, don’t settle on a specialty too early, explore and experience a variety of areas of nursing, and be ready for lifelong learning. You may be surprised at what you’ll discover!