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CRNA | Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist | Education, Job, and Salary Information
CRNA Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists receive extensive nursing training beyond the bachelor’s degree so that they can administer an anesthesia effectively. CRNAs (Nurse Anesthetists) provide a variety of medical care for their patients.
Those who receive the credentials to become Advanced Practice Nurses have the power to perform many more medical tasks for their patients. At times, it is necessary to administer anesthetics to patients to prepare them for surgery and invasive medical procedures. Administering anesthesia is not something that any nursing professional is authorized to perform because it requires a high level of skill and precision.
This article will provide a comprehensive overview on this profession. If you would like to learn more, visit our CRNA Information section.
The History of CRNA Nurse Anesthetist Nursing
Nurse Anesthetists have been around for approximately 150 years. This form of nursing is one of the oldest nursing specialties in the United States. The first administration of anesthesia was reported as early as 1861 during the American Civil War. Catherine S. Lawrence was one of the first American nurses to provide anesthesia during this time although a Catholic nun named Sister Mary Bernard was the first official person recognized as a nurse anesthetist in 1877.
In 1909, the first Nurse Anesthesia School opened in Oregon at St. Vincent Hospital. Agnes McGee created the first courses, and the program consisted of a six-month course selection. Within a few decades, 18 additional schools were created. These schools were all post-graduate training programs that lasted approximately six months. A few of the programs included Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Mayo Clinic, New York Post-Graduate Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Grace Hospital in Detroit, and Barnes Hospital.
CRNAs Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists received diplomas, certificates, and bachelor’s degrees before 1976 when the Council on Accreditation created degree requirements. Guidelines for a master’s degree were created by the Council on Accreditation in 1981. In 1982, the official requirements to become a Nurse Anesthetist were that registered nurses attend a bachelor’s program before attending a master’s degree program to become a CRNA. In 1990, all programs that consisted of certificate, bachelors, and diploma programs were required to change to masters program in order to offer anesthesia programs.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has taken measures to move the entry-level training of a Nurse Anesthetists from a master’s degree to the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a mandatory implementation in the United States by 2015. The AANA followed with an announcement in 2007 supporting the implementing of the same requirements but by the year 2025. Because of the grandfather clause, those currently working as Nurse Anesthetists will not be affected by the changes. The length of schooling that nurses will have to complete will likely exceed 36 months.
What is a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)?
CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) are professional nurses that specialized in anesthesia administration. These Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are board certified and have received a graduate level education in anesthesia. There are nearly 40,000 Nurse Anesthetists currently working in the United States. The national association known as The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) represents over 92% of these individuals.
CRNA (Nurse Anesthetist) is a registered nurses that receive their certification in anesthesiology. They oversee anesthesia administration in medical procedures that require sedation of a patient. Nurse Anesthetists work under the close supervision of board-certified anesthesiologists. The Nurse Anesthetists monitor continuous sedation administration after the certified anesthesiologist induces the sedation.
CRNAs receive special training to administer anesthetics to their patients who undergo dental, medical, and obstetrical procedures. They are part of the medical facility’s surgical team, and they play a vital role in anesthesia procedures. The attending anesthesiologist, surgeon, or dentist provides the CRNAs with direction during the procedures.
A few of the many responsibilities of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists include overlooking and interpreting tests before surgery to determine the effect the anesthetic will have on a patient, preparing the necessary equipment and supplies for the upcoming procedures, assuring that an ample blood supply in available in case of emergency. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists can provide the patient with the prescribed amount of anesthesia, and they are responsible for monitoring the vital signs of the patients as well. They must keep the attending physician informed as they monitor the patient.
Additional responsibilities that CRNAs have during medical procedures include oxygen administration, preventing surgical shock, and inserting artificial airways for their patients. In many cases, CRNAs may be asked to explain the procedure to patients before the start of surgery. They are responsible for building rapport with the patient to ensure the patient’s full cooperation during the procedure.
The job of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists comes with a great level of responsibility for the lives of others. Inaccurate calculations could cost the patient their lives. CRNAs must have excellent problem solving abilities, and they must have the ability to handle stressful situations on a daily basis. These high paid nursing specialists receive a high level of nursing training to become the skilled professionals that they are.
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How to Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
In order to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), it is necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing before getting accepted in a master’s program. Some students choose to earn diplomas, certificates, or associate’s degree in nursing before earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing. It is important to make sure that they bachelor’s program accepts the credits from the diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree program before enrolling.
Nurses must be licensed as registered nurses before they can consider becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Each state has its own set of requirements to receive a license so nurses must check with their local Board of Nursing to make sure that they meet these requirements.
Nurses must have some experience before they can qualify to enroll in a graduate program. Most programs require one to three years of nursing experience before nurses can be accepted into a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists program. At least one year of experience should be in an intensive care unit.
Most graduate programs require that students have a minimum undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 to get accepted. These programs are very competitive so students may need to have a higher GPA in order to get into a graduate degree program. It is also necessary to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to gain acceptance into a graduate nursing program. Most graduate programs have a minimum GRE score that they require for acceptance into the program so nurses should check the requirements before applying.
Nurses may want to have a backup plan in case they are not accepted into their first choice for graduate school. Some schools have lengthy waiting lists so it is advisable to have at least 3 schools to choose from in case things do not go as planned. Also, make sure that all deadlines are met or nurses may have to wait until the next acceptance period to get into the nursing program. Nurses should make sure that they do well during the interview process to get into graduate programs.
Once in a CRNA program, nurses must make sure that they make good grades so that they have the greatest advantage when it comes time to apply for Certified Registered Nurses Anesthetists positions. Once nurses graduate with their master’s degree in nurse anesthesia, they must pass the national certification examination to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. The nursing examination is administered by National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Nurses must check the requirements to sit for this examination before they pursue this certification.
The certification that nurses receive is not a lifetime certificate. Nurses may have to take a recertification course or enroll in continuing education courses to maintain their certification. Most states require nurses to recertify every 2 years to keep their licenses up to date.
Employment setting for a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) has many choices when it comes to employment settings. One of the most popular settings for CRNAs is working for the United States military. Alternatively, some nurses may choose to practice anesthetics in public or private sectors. The most common places that Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists gain employment are clinics, hospitals, physicians’ offices, surgery centers, and dental offices.
Many CRNAs choose to work independently for various medical facilities. Instead of only working full-time or part-time for a medical facility, they may choose to work on a contract basis for physicians and hospitals. Having personal contracts as CRNAs is not uncommon these days. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists have the right by law to practice in corporate or institutional settings, as well as group or individual practice, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
Nurse Anesthetist Salary
Becoming Nurse Anesthetists come with very hefty salaries. These nurses make some of the highest wages in the nursing industry. The median annual salaries for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are $166,820 annually. The lowest 10 percent earn $139,560 annually, and the highest 10% earn wages of $176,290 annually. Chief Nurse Anesthetists earn median annual salaries of $190,030. The lowest 10% earn wages of $149,675, while the highest 10% earn wages of $202,745 annually.
The salaries for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists vary according to the years of experience. The annual salaries are as follows: $97,360 – $141,855 (less than 1 year of experience), $97,505 – $136,255 (1 – 4 years of experience), $112,305 – $153,565 (5 – 9 years of experience), $119,725 – $161,895 (10 -19 years of experience), and $124,550 – $160,950 (20 years or more of experience).
The states that pay the highest annual salaries for Nurse Anesthetists are Delaware, South Dakota, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, respectively. The states that pay Nurse Anesthetists the highest hourly rates are California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey. The best opportunities for these nursing professionals are in healthcare and hospital settings. The annual wages for CRNAs are $100,105 – $218,640 in healthcare settings and $49,135 – $122,085 in hospital settings.
The top industries that employ Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are medical equipment and supplies manufacturing; federal executive branch; social and civic organizations; and professional, business, and similar organizations, respectively. The top industries that employ these individuals on an hourly basis are medical and surgical hospitals, physicians’ clinic, home health care centers, nursing homes, outpatient care centers.
Nurse Anesthetists make higher salaries according to their level of education. They can expect the following annual salaries: $120,585 with an advanced degree in nursing, $155,650 with a master’s degree with certification, and $178,740 with a master’s degree with specialization.
The cities that pay the highest annual salaries for Nurse Anesthetists are New York, New York – $115,105; Dallas, Texas – $90,105; Charlotte, North Carolina – $78,155; Tampa, Florida – $92,130; Houston, Texas – $90,305; Atlanta, Georgia -$114,105; and Washington, District of Columbia – $116,505.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Job Outlook
There are currently over 40,000 Nurse Anesthetists working in the United States. The shortage of nurses is even greater in the area of nurse anesthetics. The shortage of Nurse Anesthetists is expected to increase the need for these professionals by 30% over the next decade, which is higher than the 20% increase for all other nursing professionals.
The increase in the need for these professionals is due to the affordability and high-quality care these professionals provide. With the cost of providing healthcare continuing to rise and hospital administrators trying to find ways to cut costs, Nurse Anesthetists are in high demand. They provide the same quality services that Anesthesiologists do but at a fraction of the cost. They cost hospitals 2 to 3 times less to hire than Anesthesiologists do.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are in high demand everywhere in the country. They provide the same level of care as Anesthesiologist but are more cost efficient. Nurses attain a high level of skill and education to become CRNAs. As one of the highest paid nurses in the industry, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are expected to see an increase in the need for their services for at least the next decade. With work settings ranging from hospitals to clinics, it is no wonder so many nurses are choosing to advance their educations and skills to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.