Registered Nurse Anesthetist

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Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, or CRNAs, are some of the most advanced and highest paid of all nurses. CRNAs administer anesthesia during surgery, when an anesthesiologist physician is not available to do so. In fact, CRNAs actually predate anesthesiologists (physicians who administer anesthesiology). According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), CRNAs are “pioneers in the field of anesthesiology,” having come into existence during the civil war in the 1800s, when anesthesia itself was new, and was utilized to ease pain for soldiers and surgical patients.

CRNAs often work as part of a team with anesthesiologists. CRNAs enable more surgeries to be completed, with fewer anesthesiologists on staff. Depending on state regulations and the bylaws of the employing facility, CRNAs may be supervised by an anesthesiologist or work independently. Although CRNAs are very well-paid compared to other nurses, they are much more cost-effective for hospitals than employing multiple anesthesiologists. Therefore, CRNAs enjoy excellent job stability and high demand for their services, and it is highly unlikely that CRNAs would ever be entirely replaced by anesthesiologists.

CRNAs function much like anesthesiologists (physicians who specialize in the administration of anesthesia and pain management). CRNAs are responsible for pre- and post-operative care as it relates to the delivery of anesthesia. A CRNA does a pre-op assessment of the patient, administers the anesthesia during the surgery, brings the patient back out of anesthesia, and then follows up to ensure the patient’s recovery from the anesthesia. According to the AANA, during surgery, the CRNA monitors the patient’s vital signs and adjusts the level of anesthesia accordingly, while coordinating with the surgical team.

Career Outlook: 
Career Outlook data is specific to New Hampshire State.
June 2013 Entry Level Wage: 
$66.13
June 2013 Mean Wage: 
$74.96
June 2013 Experienced Wage: 
$79.38
Salary Range: 
$80,000+
Education Requirements: 
Programs: 
Time to Complete: 
2 years

Education Levels:

Time to Complete: 
2 years

Education Levels:

Online Options: 
Partial
Time to Complete: 
2 years

Education Levels:

Time to Complete: 
2 years

Education Levels:

License and Certification Requirements: 
Coding Certification Required: 
Yes
Coding License Required: 
No
Certification(s) Required: 
Yes
List of Required Certifications: 
Nurse Anesthetists National Certification
Certification Requirements: 
To be certified you must be a registered nurse, complete a nurse anesthesia educational program, and pass the national certification examination.
Career Categories: 

Types of Work:

Workplace Environment: 
Hospital
Long-Term Care Facility
Private Medical Practice or Private Company
Types of Interaction: 
Direct Patient Interaction
Integrated Team Member