introducing (1)

See where NBCRNA's research efforts are headed...Get to know NBCRNA's new Chief Research Officer, Dennis Spence, PhD, MS, CRNA, FAAN! 

Spense_color_2017"I am excited and honored to lead a team of passionate volunteers and staff who are dedicated to promoting patient safety by enhancing provider quality and conducting research and quality improvement on our credentialing programs."

In August we had the great pleasure of welcoming Dr. Dennis Spence to the NBCRNA team as our inaugural Chief Research Officer (CRO).

Retiring from the U.S. Navy in August 2020 after 28 years, Dr. Spence most recently served as a Staff Nurse Anesthetist at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, mentoring and teaching clinical didactic anesthesia to nurse anesthesia students while also providing anesthesia to patients of all ages requiring surgery, sedation or labor analgesia. 

Dr. Spence has held various committee positions with the NBCRNA, including as a Director on the NBCRNA Board of Directors from 2017-2020, and serving on the Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee. In 2019, Dr. Spence was awarded the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Foundation John F. Garde Researcher of the Year award for extensive scientific contributions to the nurse anesthesia profession. From 2012 to 2015, he served as the Regional Director of Nursing Research at NAVMEDWEST region where he was responsible for research proposals, grant applications and evidence-based projects, and further managed the the leadership, organization, and mentorship of nursing research and evidence-based practice for eight Naval Medical Treatment Facilities and their associate nursing staff.  

In his new role with NBCRNA, Dr. Spence will oversee the Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee (ERAC) in research development and design, and provide methodical and statistical leadership on the ongoing analysis and outcomes to help support the NBCRNA programs and strategic priorities. Dr. Spence hopes to continue to improve communication and expand on new research methods.

"Through the work of the Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee (ERAC), the NBCRNA is leveraging today’s technologies and research to develop the evaluation of the current NBCRNA credentialing programs, and investigation of the question: What are optimal ways to assess and maintain knowledge needed for initial and continued board certification over time in CRNA practice."

In the next year, Dr. Spence said they will be soliciting feedback from CRNAs on the value of continued board certification through participation in the CPC Program, and identify opportunities for improvement and communication with stakeholders.  “The NBCRNA understands that research and technologies will continue to impact CRNA practice and the ERAC is exploring innovative methods such as longitudinal assessment that may serve as an alternative option to the CPC Assessment. These are just a few research projects and initiatives we are planning and I am excited to see what we learn,” he said.

Dr. Spence will also provide leadership and research direction on evidence-based methods, innovative technologies, and novel approaches for the assessment and maintenance of CRNA knowledge and competence over time.

See the latest research

To see all the latest research and studies conducted by the NBCRNA visit,