Jayhawk Career Network

Mentor Spotlight: Michael Feighny
We’re highlighting Jayhawks who serve as mentors to fellow alumni and students to celebrate National Mentoring Month.
Connect with Michael on KU Mentoring+.

Michael Feighny is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Lawrence Anaesthesia. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, he graduated from KU with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2011 before continuing on to receive his doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice in 2017 from Bryan College of Health Sciences. He now lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

What do you do at your job? And how did you end up in your current career?

I administer anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery and other procedures. In short, I keep patients alive during surgery. My career journey began as a registered nurse taking care of critically ill patients in an ICU. I was fortunate enough to observe CRNAs in action during my time as an ICU RN. This exposure helped me decide to further my education and become a CRNA. I like working with my hands and could tolerate the rigors of graduate school. After graduate school (three years), I was able to gain employment at my current job and have been practicing for five years.

Who is a mentor for you, and how did they help you?

Several college professors encouraged me to pursue higher education. A family friend was an inspiration to study medicine. He gave me confidence that I could achieve my goals if I worked hard. I admired the life he created and the work-life balance.

What advice do you have for current college students or young alumni?

Do what you enjoy. Do what makes you happy regardless of future income. Make sure to thoroughly research the profession and ask questions about both the good and bad of the job. It’s easy to think of your ideal job as being without stress, but this is extremely unrealistic. Ask the tough questions to mentors: What are the pitfalls of the profession? Is there a backup plan? Pros/cons of certain aspects of the job? Best/worst part of job? For example, anesthesia is a wonderful profession that is very rewarding and compensation is mostly fair. However, it is highly stressful and burnout rates are high. Furthermore, occupational hazards can be dangerous as well. One must consider all aspects of the prospective career and make an informed decision.

What is your favorite KU memory?

Storming Mass Street after the 2008 National Championship game.

Need a mentor? Want to serve as a mentor? KU Mentoring+ is open to students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the University of Kansas. Professionals who are looking for opportunities to connect with KU and provide assistance to Jayhawks are also welcome. Learn more about KU Mentoring+.

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