Helping people through the scariest moments of their life

Neil Brauner

APP Spotlight: Neil Brauner, Nurse Anesthetist, Anesthesiology, University Hospital; American Family Children’s Hospital

Tell us about yourself.

After earning my nursing degree from Madison Area Technical College (MATC), I started my career as a nursing assistant. In 2006, I started working in the neurology intensive care unit. I worked as a registered nurse (RN) for a year, then transferred to the Trauma and Life Support Center (TLC). In February 2018, I began working as a nurse anesthetist (CRNA). A CRNA is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has specialized training in anesthesia. We administer anesthesia for procedures and surgeries, either alone or with a team of healthcare providers.

After earning a nursing degree, you typically train on the job with hands-on learning. For the CRNA role, the path was different. The first year was spent in the classroom and the second year was all in the operating room. I finished school knowing how to do the work right away. I came out of school knowing how to do the work right away.

I’m proud to also mention that during the height of COVID-19 in 2020, I helped create and implement protocol for donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Tell us about your family.

I grew up here in Madison on the east side of town. I have been married to my wife, Myra, for 20 years.  We have two great kids, Kaden, 13, and Lucas, 10, who keep us very busy. We also have two dogs and a lizard.

How did you come to UW Health?

I came to UW Health in 2003 as a nursing assistant on the transplant surgery unit. I knew I wanted to work here as an RN and thought at the time that I would become a flight nurse with Med Flight.

What inspires you about your profession?

Being a CRNA involves an immense amount of trust between me and my patient and their family.  Building that trust in the short minutes before taking the patient to the operating room is challenging and also rewarding. I help people get through some of the scariest moments in their life.

Do you have a memorable experience in your career that has stayed with you?

There are so many things that stick with you in nursing and CRNA practice. One of my most memorable experiences was with a patient who was who was already a part of my family’s life. He had an emergency event resulting in an injury that required surgery. As a member of his care team, it was nothing short of amazing to watch his miraculous recovery.

What have your patients taught you about yourself?

My patients have taught me that I am more resilient than I ever thought I could be.

In a few words, how would you describe your coworkers and team at UW Health?

My coworkers are dedicated, skilled and caring.

Outside of work, what did you accomplish this year that makes you proud?

I enjoy remodeling projects on our house and recently renovated our laundry room and youngest son’s bedroom.