What Is A Nurse Anesthetist

The days of painful surgeries are long gone, thanks to anesthesia. Anesthesiology is that branch of medical science which deals with the relief of pain and total care of the patient before, during, and after surgery. Those qualified professionals who administer anesthesia are either called anesthesiologists or anesthetists.

Who Can Administer Anesthesia?
As mentioned earlier, anesthesia can either be administered to a patient by an anesthesiologist or anesthetist. There is a difference between the two job titles: the former is a doctor with specialty in anesthesia, and the latter is a registered nurse (RN) who is qualified to administer anesthesia. A RN with this expertise is also called a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
CRNAs work alongside anesthesiologists, surgeons, podiatrists, and dentists. Carrying a heavy load of responsibility, they are highly respected in the medical community and may earn more than any other type of nurse. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2012, CRNAs earned an average yearly salary of $154,390. Not every nurse is a CRNA. CRNAs are highly qualified nurses who are licensed to administer anesthesia. RNs may enroll in anesthesiology schools to become CRNAs. CRNAs need to do the following to qualify as nurse anesthetists:

  • Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree
  • Hold a valid registered nursing license
  • Have at least one-year experience as a registered nurse working in an acute care setting
  • Obtain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program
  • Pass the national certification examination

Anesthesiology Schools
The duration of the program may differ from school to school, and could range from 24 to 36 months. All programs include clinical training either in large community hospitals or within the university. If students would like to continue to work full-time while completing the program, they may want to consider online education. More and more schools are offering online MSN programs for students.

Nurse Anesthesia Courses
The following courses are meant to illustrate the type of courses that may be taught in a anesthesia nursing program. Their exact titles may be different, but are similar to the following:

  • Gross Anatomy for Nurse Anesthesia
  • Advanced Human Physiology
  • Analytic Tools & Research Application
  • Anesthesia Concepts
  • Advanced Pharmacology in Nurse Anesthesia
  • Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Anesthesia
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Research Methodology
  • Interdisciplinary Health Care Ethics
  • Basic Principles for Nurse Anesthesia Practice
  • Anesthesia Pharmacology
  • Anesthesia and Co-Existing Disease
  • Advanced Principles of Nurse Anesthesia Practice I, II, III, IV

Anesthesiology Schools And Accreditation If you have decided to become a CRNA, make sure that your school is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

Is a CRNA program for you?
In order to answer this question, you should know that a CRNA does the following:

  • Clear the airway
  • Hang blood products
  • Start intravenous lines
  • Control bleeding
  • Place catheters
  • Conduct manual ventilation
  • Mask ventilate and intubate

If you think a career as this type of nurse is for you, then becoming a CRNA may prove to be a good decision.


Q:How long does it take to complete an ms degree in accounting?

A:At most schools, an MS degree programs has a duration of two years. However, this can vary from place to place. It is also possible to purse an ms degree in accounting online. You can opt or an accelerated track which will allow you to complete the masters degree in less than two years. Take a look at our page for more information.

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