The Importance of Caring: My Journey into Nursing – Chad Miller

By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital  – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, April 2019

Chad Miller, director of anesthesia at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH), has his grandfather to thank for his medical career.

“My grandfather was a family practice physician in my hometown of Grant. He was a major influence in my life and a major reason why I pursued a career in health care,” Miller said.

Though it was his grandfather’s influence that led Miller to health care, it was military service that would lead Miller to the field of anesthesia. Over the years, Miller has served in different capacities in both the Nebraska Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve for a total of 14 years. This included a deployment to Iraq as an Army medic while Miller was in nursing school.

When Miller started nursing school, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his nursing degree. That changed when he worked with certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) during his deployment to Iraq.

“I was fortunate enough to serve around some excellent CRNAs who were the primary anesthesia providers on our forward surgical teams,” he said. “These providers were confident and skilled and their depth of knowledge really made an impression on me. The independent practice nature of the position also really appealed to me. It was at that  point that I knew which direction I wanted to pursue.”

Miller would go on to receive his Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and attend a nurse anesthesia residency at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, where he received his Master of Science in anesthesiology.

Before coming to CCH in September 2016, Miller worked for two years in an intensive care unit at Nebraska Medicine which focused on trauma and pre/post solid organ transplants. He then worked as a CRNA for four and a half years at McCook Community Hospital in McCook, Nebraska, before transitioning to Columbus.

Miller became director of anesthesia at CCH about a year ago. In this position, he oversees the day-to-day and long-term operations of the anesthesia department, while continuing to serve as a full-time anesthesia provider.

CCH’s anesthesia department provides analgesia and anesthesia services throughout the hospital, including those for labor and delivery and emergency services. All of the department’s providers are fully independent practitioners who provide the full spectrum of anesthesia care, including general, regional and sedation anesthetics.

Anesthesia staff provide safe and appropriate anesthetics for patients on the surgical schedule and throughout the hospital. Once the surgical schedule is complete, the department always has two providers on call in order to provide emergency and after-hours service. The staff also reviews charts for upcoming surgeries in CCH’s pre-admissions department to ensure that patients are fully optimized prior to surgery, in order to minimize the risk of same-day surgical cancellations.

“We have a great group of surgeons who collaborate with us in order to provide
patients with the optimal anesthetic and pain control plan,” Miller said.

He added that the administration at CCH has also been very supportive of the anesthesia department and “facilitated our department to be on the cutting edge of anesthesia departments across the country.”

That is one of the reasons Miller is happy to oversee CCH’s anesthesia department. Another reason is because anesthesia, and health care in general, provide unique opportunities to help others.

“A career in health care is a rewarding one,” Miller said. “The hours can be long
and the schedule can be out of the ordinary, but the satisfaction that comes with providing a patient with a pleasant health care experience when they are at their most vulnerable is unmatched.”

For more information on Miller or the state-of-the-art services available through
CCH’s anesthesia department, visit