Nurse Anesthesia Certification Board Names New Chief Executive Officer

Experienced Executive Leader John Preston, DNSc, CRNA, FNAP, APRN, to Guide NBCRNA

CHICAGO, March 29, 2021 – The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) announces today that John Preston, DNSc, CRNA, FNAP, APRN, will become its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective April 15, 2021. The current CEO, Karen Plaus, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, CAE, is retiring after a planned leadership transition.

Dr. Preston brings to his new role more than 36 years of experience in nursing and advanced practice nursing, of which 25 were spent leading nurse anesthesia education and professional development. He served as the Associate Program Director at Rosalind Franklin University, the Graduate Program Director for the University of Tennessee, and the Senior Director of Education and Professional Development at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists prior to coming to the NBCRNA as the Chief Credentialing Officer in 2015. In addition, he has held numerous roles in credentialing, nursing regulation, higher education administration, and nursing practice.

A results-oriented, innovative leader, Dr. Preston is known for his strategic foresight, operationalizing complex business processes, maximizing human and financial resources to strengthen services, and developing high performing teams. He has a proven track record of organizational success and visionary accomplishments.


“The NBCRNA Board of Directors is excited that Dr. Preston will guide our respected portfolio of credentialing programs for the nurse anesthesia profession into the future,” said NBCRNA President and Search Committee Chair Kevin Driscoll, DNP, CRNA. “John brings a wealth of regulatory, credentialing, accreditation, education and practice experience to build upon the NBCRNA’s strong reputation, and to chart the course for success in the years to come.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity to steward a distinguished organization that is committed to supporting lifelong learning and the promotion of high standards of patient care,” said Dr. Preston. “Along with the Board of Directors and the incredible staff of the organization, I am honored to be able to lead the NBCRNA into its next chapter of success.”

Dr. Preston received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral education from two campuses of the University of Tennessee. Beyond his professional acumen, Dr. Preston enjoys travel, family and friends. He and his wife Jan, who is a nursing executive with the Advocate Aurora system, live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

The CEO search was conducted by Sterling Martin Associates (SMA) and started with a nationwide email to all CRNAs, along with announcements in the NBCRNA newsletter. SMA reached out to over 80 candidates and received strong interest from 21 CRNAs. The NBCRNA wishes to thank Sterling Martin for helping to find the next leader for the organization. 

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About the NBCRNA

Based in Chicago, the NBCRNA is the nation’s certifying body for the initial, continued, and subspecialty board certification of the nearly 55,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). Our primary responsibility is to guard the well-being of the public by seeking to ensure that those who secure the CRNA credential have the necessary knowledge and skills to practice safely and effectively. We accomplish our mission through the development and implementation of credentialing programs that support lifelong learning among nurse anesthetists. For more information about the NBCRNA, please visit our website at