How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, it can take a total of seven years of education to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). A bachelor’s of science in nursing is a requirement, which is the first step toward any advanced practice nursing specialty. Click here to explore an accredited list of RN to BSN programs. A graduate degree in nursing anesthesia and passing a national certification exam is then usually required, though state requirements may vary. Clinical experience is an important part of a CRNA’s development path as well, and at least one year of acute care nursing experience is also required for certification.

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CRNA Job Description and Duties

CRNAs practice with a certain amount of independence, though they work together with other medical staff and physicians. They provide anesthesia care to patients, educating them about it beforehand, monitoring them during operations while under it, and caring for patients recovering from surgery under anesthesia. They remain with patients and continually monitor them and check their vital signs to ensure safety and comfort. In many rural hospitals, they are the main anesthesia providers. They may work in hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, or ambulatory clinics.

Nurse Anesthetist Salary and Job Outlook

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States due to the growing aging population and the large portion of healthcare workers approaching retirement. Registered nurses are the largest group of workers in healthcare, and are projected to grow more than any other occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This outlook is even better for highly skilled and trained nurse specialists like CRNAs because of their cost effectiveness over anesthesiologists. The job outlook is particularly good in more rural areas, where the doctor to patient ratio is much lower and CRNAs often work even more independently. The article Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in High Demand provides a much more indepth analysis of the CRNA career path including education requirements, shortage of CRNAs and what the future holds for those exploring this field of nursing. With the nation’s growing healthcare needs and the changing landscape of healthcare providers, specialized nursing careers offer affordable, quality care and provide employment opportunities.

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