Training and Duties of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

CRNA Training

To become certified as a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) in the United States requires individuals to first obtain certification and licensing as a Registered Nurse (RN). After completing the required certification to become an RN, candidates must complete an in depth training program to obtain certification as a CRNA. These programs typically last an additional two to three years and leave the graduate educated to the level of a Master’s degree. Nurse anesthesia programs are incredibly detailed and require a great deal of time and study.

These programs are focused on proper administration of medication and sedatives that can potentially pose risk to any patient. Therefore, graduates of these programs must usually maintain a substantially high GPA in order to reap success. Anesthesia is a highly serious patient concern and CRNAs must be able to show competence in areas of administration and monitoring of drugs. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist programs are typically very competitive and in many cases, these programs offer waiting lists for qualified candidates. Graduates of CRNA programs must also undergo a substantial amount of continuing education. Most CRNAs will tell you that not all training programs are equal in content and outcome. Pay is often commiserate upon the quality of the program from which you graduate.

CRNA Duties

Reports indicate that obtaining certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist may be well worth the extra effort in terms of compensation throughout your career. The duties of a CRNA cover a wide spectrum of responsibility within the health care industry. Many times they are tasked outside the operating room to a variety of other jobs. However, the main stage for the occupational duties of the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is the OR and/or other surgical arenas. Nurse Anesthetists work under direct supervision of a physician (typically and anesthesiologist). Dependent upon your location, you will either work independently, or as a support to the doctor. CRNAs are certified to administer medication and monitor patients’ vitals, et cetera once the medicine takes effect. In some arenas, the anesthesiologist will administer drugs to put patients ‘to sleep’ and a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist will maintain care of the patient after the initial drugs are administered. These duty details will vary from state to state wherein different standards and laws apply.

Career outlooks for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists remains good. This is a high-demand and high-paying field. Most CRNAs find they earn higher salaries when they maintain self-employment, however, gainful employment with University Hospitals is a highly sought after position for the CRNA.

Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist can potentially take a long time and always requires a great deal of dedication and effort, but once you have blazed the trail of education and training, you will find yourself staring head on at a lucrative and rewarding career.

There are countless online sources for locating and applying for CRNA programs across the nation. Do your homework and make a checklist of requirements before you undergo the application process.

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