A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is a registered nurse with advanced training in the area of anesthetics. CRNAs supplement and provide care similar to that of an anesthesiologist, including the provision of general and local anesthetics, epidural, spinal and nerve blocks, twilight sedation and pain management. CRNAs assess the patient’s physical and medical history before a procedure for any contraindications to anesthesia. They also monitor the patient during the procedure for any adverse effects, and care for the patient during the post-anesthesia unit stay. CRNAs are employed in a variety of settings, including hospital operating rooms, emergency rooms, labor and delivery wards, dental offices and free-standing surgical centers. To become a CRNA, one must first complete a 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing, pass the national nurse licensing exam (NCLEX), and become licensed by the state board of nursing in the state in which they desire to practice. After this is completed, one can apply to a CRNA program, which provides a master’s degree in nursing upon completion and qualifies the graduate to take the national CRNA certification exam administered by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. CRNA educational programs are highly competitive, with admission offered to only 1 out of every 20 applicants on average. A strong background in critical care nursing is key to admission and success in the program. Depending on individual state laws, CRNAs practice with varying levels of independence, ranging from no supervision required to direct supervision by a physician being required. CRNAs may have a varied schedule, as care is needed on an around-the-clock basis 365 days a year. Work is entirely indoors, and may include exposure to noxious gases, chemicals, and hazardous materials (including bodily fluids). Salary for a CRNA is exceptional, with a starting salary over $100,000 a year and increasing with experience.
Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Tasks
- Oversee patient postoperative and recovery.
- Monitor levels of anesthesia intraoperatively and adjust accordingly.
- Administer anesthesia for patients prior to surgery or delivery.
- Perform a physical assessment of patient.