It takes a specialized education, technical knowledge and a strong attention to detail to be a nurse anesthetist. It also takes a desire to help others.

For more than 40 years, resident Barry Blannett used a mix of precise skills and a caring heart as a nurse anesthetist to aid thousands of patients, including many who were entering this world for the first time.

Barry’s mother was a nurse, and he decided it was a good profession. He went to school for nursing, knowing he’d go into anesthesiology. He attended the Medical College of Virginia for his master’s degree in 1977 and spent four years practicing in Virginia. He served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Reserve for 10 years and was stationed across the United States.

His next stop was Geisinger Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, with his wife, Marlene, where he remained for 40 years.

Nurse anesthetists provide pain medication (anesthesia) care for patients before, during and after surgery. They administer medications to keep patients asleep or pain-free during surgery and constantly monitor patients’ biological functions.

“For anesthetists, the most important part is making sure people are pain-free and recover from the anesthesia,” Barry said.

Throughout his career, he was most proud of how he cared for patients. Barry also enjoyed training future nurse anesthetists to make sure they liked what they were doing. He was a department manager for more than 30 years at Geisinger, while providing patient care, too.

He specialized in all types of anesthesia, but the most rewarding was being part of delivering babies. Barry estimates he helped deliver around 1,000 babies throughout his career.

Throughout four decades in practice, he saw lots of changes in his field. There was a constant need for continuing education.

“From when I first trained in 1975, I had to constantly be on top of my game and my ability to give anesthesia,” Barry said. “The greatest advancement I saw was in cardiac anesthesiology, which was a more complex type.”

A proud Eagle Scout, Barry’s choice of a career which served others fell in line with how he was raised.

“I grew up that way,” he said. “I was always a volunteer of some type, giving back to people and all they gave me. My parents taught me to give back to others, especially children.”

Barry served as a Kingston Borough Council Member and was involved in coaching Little League. He is a 35-year member of Kingston Lodge No. 395. He and Marlene have two children and four grandchildren.

They moved to Masonic Village at Dallas two years ago. An avid golfer, Barry had visited the Irem Country Club many times, and when he saw the villas at Masonic Village being constructed in 2006, he decided it would be a great place to retire. He still enjoys golfing, as well as fly fishing and spending time outdoors.

While his career was very rewarding, Barry appreciates being able to relax now, especially knowing he trained many new professionals who have taken the reigns.

“You miss the people you work with and other nurse anesthetists,” he said. “Administering anesthesia was technically difficult, so there is some relief in handing it off to younger practitioners. You always wanted to make sure you did no harm.”