Nurse Anesthesia: An advanced nurse practice with huge demand

One of the advanced nurse practices with huge demand is Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA). Certified nurse anesthetists are medical professionals who specialize in administration of anesthesia for surgical and medical procedures. These nurses work together with surgeons, anesthesiologists and a team of other medical professionals. They take care of the patients before, during and after an operation. They prepare the patients for surgery, administer anesthesia and maintain the anesthesia to make sure that the patient remains properly sedated during the procedures. They also oversee patient recovery from sedation and take care of the patient immediately after the operation.

Educational requirements

Becoming a CRNA is not something that can be achieved quickly. To become one you must undergo rigorous training for some time. One of the base requirements to become one is a BSN. In addition to that, you must have acute care experience of at least a year. You must also successfully complete an accredited nurse anesthesia program which includes a Master’s degree. The curriculum for these programs includes courses like: biochemistry, principles of anesthesia, pain management and pharmacology of anesthesia. Most of the graduate programs also include the study of scientific inquiry and statistics. These programs usually take 2-3 years to complete.

Having completed the graduate education, you must sit for and pass the national certification exam in order to practice legally as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. You will also be required to complete a residency which includes faculty supervised experience handling patients and practicing anesthetist techniques. You must also complete at least forty hours of continued eduction so as to maintain your license to practice which is renewed after every 2 years.

Work environments

Becoming a CRNA can pave way to many exciting and rewarding career paths. There are several professional options available to CRNAs. They work in: hospitals, surgical suites, obstetrical delivery rooms, ambulatory surgical centers, critical access hospitals, in the offices of ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, dentists and pain management specialists. They also work with public health services, the US military and the Department of Veteran Affairs health facilities. They could also work in education and in leadership positions. In most military and government health facilities, certified registered nurse anesthetists are the only professionals who administer anesthesia. CRNAs mostly work as the chief anesthesia providers in over 2/3 of all rural hospitals in the country. They administer anesthetics to over 30 million patients countywide per year.

Salary and job outlook

CRNAs are among the most advanced and best paid nurses making it a prudent career choice in the booming health care industry. Just as with other careers, their salaries are determined by previous work experience, education, employer and job location. Those working in nonprofit organizations, private practice and for state and local governments tend to earn the most. The salary of certified nurse anesthetists is also determined by the number of patients the employer can handle which is expressed in the number of beds. Those who work for small organizations with a bed capacity of less than 50-299 earn more than those who work for larger organizations. The average compensation for CRNAs is about $160,000 annually.

The current nursing shortage has resulted in some unique job opportunities for nurses countrywide, especially for advanced practice nurses like Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. The job growth outlook is great because the demand for advanced practice specialties is expected to rise significantly over time. Another reason why the job prospects are excellent is the fact that it is more cost effective for hospitals to employ CRNAs because anesthesiologists earn twice or thrice as much as CRNAs regardless of the fact that nurse anesthetists provide the same quality standard of care in their job.

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Before choosing to advance your nursing career to this high demand nurse practice you must brace your self for the huge responsibilities it brings.Being a CRNA can be stressful especially if you work in a facility where the anesthesiology staff is less as the on call schedule can greatly affect your quality of life. You will be working closely with patients and their families to make sure that they get proper care and comfort. For this reason you must also have a great compassion for people and patience. You must also be strong willed in order to cope with the challenges and stress that this job brings.This career offers more than just a huge paycheck making it a good career choice for those who want to make a switch, and also for those who want to get into the nursing profession.