The Path to Success Starts With Preparation

Samantha Paternoster
October 28, 2021
Angela Mund
Angela Mund, DNP, CRNA is the new chairperson for the Department of Clinical Sciences.

Angela Mund, DNP, CRNA, newly appointed chairperson of the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Health Professions, credits her achievements to three elements: preparation, good mentors, and an understanding that leaders are made, not born.

Just one month after being appointed chairperson on July 1, 2021, Mund was also selected as the President-Elect of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) and is currently maintaining her previous role as division director for the Division of Anesthesia for Nurses until it is filled.

"You can't fall into leadership. You have to plan for it and prepare yourself," says Mund. Having served in the U.S. Army for ten years, she focuses on the logistics of each step she takes towards her goals.

Mund's first leadership role came when she ran for a position on the Board of Directors of the Association of Veterans Affairs Nurse Anesthetists (AVANA) at the suggestion of her mentor and then boss, Ken Wetjen. She won that election and eventually became president of the association. Wetjen's belief in Mund taught her the power of seeing opportunity and taking a leap despite the potential to fail.

When she first ran for office for the AANA, Mund lost two years in a row. "You have to be willing not to have a fear of failure," says Mund. With the support of her husband, family, and mentors, she continued to pursue her goals even after failing.

She is now the second President-Elect of the AANA from South Carolina, following Deborah Geisler's footsteps. "The only two CRNAs from South Carolina that have served in the top role of this organization are both associated with MUSC, which I think is pretty cool," says Mund.

By always looking ahead and preparing for future goals, Mund has had the ability to say yes to unexpected opportunities. While serving as president of the AVANA in 2008, Mund was given three days' notice of a chance to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives on veteran's affairs. Within two days, despite it being her wedding anniversary, she was on a last-minute flight to Washington, D.C. "My husband said 'it's important for veterans and it's important for CRNAs. You have to do this'," says Mund. "'You have to be willing to use your voice.'"

After losing her husband earlier this year, the AANA established the Steven J. Mund Memorial Fund to provide scholarships for veterans enrolling in nurse anesthesia programs and funding research into PTSD for CRNAs that served overseas in the military. The fund is an opportunity to support her husband's legacy and give back to veterans.

"Fundraising for this is going to be a big part of my impact. We're looking at how we can better serve our veterans when they come back and longitudinally," says Mund.

While Mund temporarily maintains her previous role, she's found enjoyment and opportunity in the shift from division director to chairperson. As division director, Mund prepared students to take clinical positions as CRNAs, knowing that each student who graduated would positively impact hundreds of people. As the first chairperson of a new department, she hopes to expand her impact to motivate and support other leaders within the department.

"I was taught early on that just because someone is a different rank doesn't mean that they don't bring value to the team," says Mund. "We all bring something incredibly important."

Mund hopes to grow interprofessional relationships and encourage collaboration between departments. One of her aspirational goals is to create a balance between research and clinical work within the Department of Clinical Sciences.

Looking back, Mund reiterates that being prepared and listening to loving critics is the key to fostering your success.

"If you're interested in developing yourself, surround yourself with people who will tell you things that might be hard to hear but are coming from a place of growth and love," says Mund.