Nurse anesthetists provide patients with anesthesia during medical procedures, such as surgery or obstetrical procedures. They give patients preoperative care by explaining to them exactly how the procedures will work. During procedures, they monitor the patient’s vital signs and assist physicians. After the procedure is complete, they assist the patient with recovery from anesthesia and provide other postoperative care. From the beginning to the end of the procedure, they are with the patient, giving them the support and assistance they need. They work in all kinds of medical settings, from hospitals to dentists’ offices to pain clinics. They work closely with surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, anesthesiologists, and other high-level healthcare workers.
Nurse anesthetists need to have well-developed communication skills, and the ability to observe accurately and make decisions accordingly. They must be willing to work with a team, as well as supervise others. Due to the intense nature of the work, nurse anesthetists should be emotionally stable and have a sympathetic disposition.
Training and Education
Nurse anesthetists are required to have graduate level training – usually a Master’s degree in nursing. They must first become registered nurses (RNs) by earning their nursing license. In order to obtain a nursing license, which is required by all 50 States and the District of Columbia, students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination. Candidates for registered nurse positions must obtain a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN). BSN programs aree offered through colleges and universities and take 4 years to complete. BSN may provide graduates with an opportunity for advancement within the nursing profession.
After they have earned their BSN, students must then enter a master’s degree program in Nurse Anesthesia. These programs may take between 24 and 36 months to complete and typically cover anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, chemistry, pharmacology, as well as the techniques and procedures of surgery and obstetrics. On completion of their program, graduates must then become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) by passing a national examination. Most are members of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Click here to see a list of Nursing Schools, and/or to contact their admissions departments for more information.
More new RN jobs are expected to be created than any other occupation, mostly because of the need to replace aging registered nurses as they leave the profession. Factors such as the growing elderly population, general growth of healthcare, rising median age of registered nurses, increased emphasis on preventative treatment, and technological advances would keep registered nurses, including nurse anesthetists, in high demand.