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A registered nurse who specializes in the field of anaesthesia is called Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia. A Nurse Anesthetist is one of the most advanced and qualified specialities in the nursing profession.

They play a critical role in different healthcare settings, command good salaries and are in demand in this growing profession. For these reasons, it is a good time to map out your future in this rewarding career as a nurse anesthetist.

A CRNA is a licensed healthcare officer who works along with a team of providers to ensure that the patients are pain-free during surgery and childbirth.

Job responsibilities

  • Preparation of patients for anesthesia including physical assessment and teaching preoperatively.
  • Administration of Anesthesia and maintaining it during the operation to put the patient pain-free.
  • Managing the recovery of the patient due to anesthesia.
  • Follow the post-operative course of the patient from the recovery room into the patient care unit.
  • Providing good patient care during and after the surgery.
  • Provide utmost care and support to expectant mothers during labour process and after delivery.
  • Examination of patient’s medical history and find out if they have any allergies.
  • Give spinal anesthesia or spinal anesthesia during childhood.
  • Constant learning by attending relevant conferences, meetings and other events.
  • Train student anesthetics and newly hired department staff.
  • Administration of nerve blocks and order required anesthesia and supplies.
  • Monitor patient’s vital signs of during the procedures and recovery.
  • Serving on the state boards of nursing.
nurse anesthetist

Educational Requirements

  • The first step in becoming a nurse anesthetist is to qualify as a registered nurse. The minimum degree is an associate degree but in this competitive job market, most nursing aspirants go for Bachelor in Nursing. The Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing course is for those who have done their bachelors in another field.
  • To legally practise nursing, the aspirants have to complete the training as a nurse and obtain the license of the state in which you wish to work. The candidates should pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses that is accredited by American Nurses Credential Center.
  • To get admission to the Accredited Nurse anesthesia program, a minimum of one year of experience in critical care is required. This experience can be gained in the Intensive Operating Unit (ICU), Emergency room (ER), critical care unit and neonatal intensive care unit.
  • Complete a master’s or doctorate in nursing anesthesia to become a CRNA from an accredited institution. A master is sufficient for CRNA but most employees go for Doctorate in Nursing Practice or Nursing Anesthesia.
  • Qualify the National Certification Examination that is conducted by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

Workplace of Nurse Anesthetist

A Nurse Anesthetist works with healthcare workers like surgeons, nurses and operating room technicians. They are employed in the following medical settings.

  • Physicians’ offices
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Specialty hospitals
  • Surgical centers
  • Dental offices
  • Pain management specialists
  • Public health centers
  • S. military facilities
  • Universities and colleges

The physicians’ and dental offices are the instances of two workplaces where a CRNA can work alone i.e., without the supervision of anesthesiologist.

nurse anesthetist

Salary and Job outlook

Working directly with patients and taking care of their needs, comfort and safety is highly satisfying and joyful and also earning the highest salary for an advanced registered nurse is icing on the cake.

According to a report by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the CRNAs make an average salary of $181,040 annually. The salaries for nurse anesthetics vary on factors like experience level, type of employer, speciality, shift timing and geographical location. The annual salaries can range from $49,000 to $414,000.

The job outlook for CRNAs is good. The BLS reports that the jobs of nurse anesthetics are expected to grow at a rate of 31% between 2014 and 2024 which is more than the average of other occupations.

The career opportunities are outstanding as this can be contributed to the increasing demand for healthcare services, especially by the large and ageing baby-boom population. These top-tier nurses will be in great demand as they are qualified to perform most of the duties of physicians.

The need for CRNAs is much higher in rural areas where hospitals may not have anesthesiologists to administer anaesthesia and completely rely on CRNAs for the same.

nurse anesthetist

Career Advancement for Nurse Anesthetics

If a CRNA wants to advance his/her career beyond the Operation Room, he needs to specialize i.e., complete the doctoral degree. This will lead to the opening up of career opportunities in leadership, administrative and university-level professor roles with a high salary.

– Samiya Firdous 

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