If you want the salary and responsibility of an MD, and are already a Registered Nurse, you may want to look into the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist career field. As this requires a masters degree, only to be attained by those who have already achieved their Bachelors of Science in Nursing, chances are you’ve already started working on the per-requisites, and your degree is only a few short years away.
Before beginning any training programs, you’ll need to have a year of experience in acute care nursing, which shouldn’t be a problem as you are probably already working in the hospital setting. Also, similar to any other masters program, as an RN you are required to have a satisfactory score on the GRE, and passing grades from your undergrad years.
Some per-requisite courses are statistics, research, chemistry and anatomy, but these will all differ depending on where you choose to receive your training, and though tuition will make up a large portion of your decision process there are a few other aspects to consider as well.
Where you decide to go should be based on, but no limited to, class sizes and job placement rate, as well as whether the school is accredited and if it prepares you for the national certification. It is important to find a program that is approved by the state you want to practice in. So don’t get excited for the school on the West Coast that fits all your requirements when Boston is where you’re staying.
If you feel ready to take on this career, you’ll be looking at 24-36 months of more classroom time. Programs will also require a certain amount of time in clinical practicum, which will get you out from behind the books, and in front of patients.
Some classes you might encounter, once accepted and enrolled, are professional aspects of Nurse Anesthesia, Chemistry of Anesthesia, and research methods. Though the classes sound daunting, and you may be envisioning yourself with a lack of sleep and social life, try to keep in mind that a CRNA is one of the highest paid in the nursing field, and is the sole Anesthesiologist in almost two-thirds of all U.S. rural hospitals.
Once you have completed all the training and education requirements, you will be taking your final exam. The certification exam consists of 100-170 questions, which are computerized. You’ll have three hours to complete the exam. It may take up to four weeks to get your exam results, so try not to be too anxious to find out if you’ve passed.
This exam certifies you for two years of practicing, but you will then have to re-certify. Re certification requires that you have 40 hours of continuing education during the two previous years, so yes, the schooling will be ongoing.
If this rewarding career sound like it’s right for you, it’s time to start working on your training requirements and find a school that can help you with your new profession.