Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist

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Dominick Francia
Senior Project Paper CRNA
Mrs. Basile
9 November 2012

Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia to patients in virtually every medical practice setting, for a variety of surgical and essential pain assistance procedures. Additionally, they care for patients before, during, and after medical procedures or surgery by an assortment of tasks including: patient assessments, patient preparation for anesthesia, administering and maintaining anesthesia to ensure proper sedation and/or pain management, overseeing the patients recovery from anesthesia, and last caring for the patient's immediate post-operative needs. The credential CRNA evolved in 1956 in the United States, and is an acronym for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. CRNA professionals are those who administer more than 33 million anesthetics safely to patients each year in the United States, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) 2011 Practice Profile Survey.  

CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in America enabling healthcare facilities to offer obstetrical, surgical, pain management and trauma stabilization services. In some states, CRNAs are the exclusive providers in nearly 100 percent of their hospitals. CRNAs provide anesthesia in cooperation with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, physicians and other qualified healthcare professionals. When anesthesia is administered by a nurse anesthetist, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine. Regardless of whether their educational background is in nursing or medicine, all anesthesia professionals give anesthesia the same way.  

As advanced practice registered nurses, CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. They carry a heavy load of responsibility and are compensated accordingly, which is why I have chosen this as a potential future career choice. I enjoy being considered a highly reputable person, and I also enjoy thorough compensation for any duty I perform. Furthermore, this profession provides limitless opportunities for professional growth, income, and independent opportunities.  

CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospitals, surgical and obstetrical delivery rooms, critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dental offices, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, pain management clinics, and U.S. military and government facilities. Because the delivery of anesthesia is used in a such a vast array of settings and locations, this makes a CRNA career more marketable for nursing professionals, and job opportunities among them significant. When selecting a career path, one must consider the long term effects and outcome of their post secondary education. Considerations should be made to ensure that I am not only choosing a profitable profession, but also one that will market me for jobs in healthcare industry upon graduation, and in the future.    

Nationally, the average 2012 malpractice premium for self-employed CRNAs was 33 percent lower than in 1988 (62 percent lower when adjusted for inflation).  More than 45,000 of the nation’s nurse anesthetists (including CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists) are members of the AANA (or, greater than 90 percent of all U.S. nurse anesthetists). More than 40 percent of nurse anesthetists are men, compared with less than 10 percent of nursing as a whole.  

Education and experience required to become a CRNA include: A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or other appropriate baccalaureate degree, a current license as a registered nurse, at least one year of experience as a registered nurse in an acute care setting, and graduation with a minimum of a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program.  As of June 2012 there were 112 accredited nurse...
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