In ancient times, the operations took place under the supervision of professional doctors and nurses. Even under the expert guidance, too, the patient couldn’t escape the trauma and pain that they’d undergo. But, then came up the pain-relief factor called ‘anesthesia.’ Before reading further about how to become a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist), let’s go back in time to how this career came to rise. During the 1800s, the nurses who accompanied doctors to the wars tried anesthesia to treat the soldiers in the first go. The practice went out well, and the wounded soldiers recovered as well. So, in later times, it became a full-fledged occupation known as CRNAs. Before knowing about the advanced nursing program, read how to become a nurse practitioner in the U.S. Then, continue reading this career guide.
What Does CRNA Stand For?
A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is a medical professional who administers anesthesia during the medical procedure. CRNA are nurses who receive more training in the administration of anesthesia in health care settings. To become a CRNA, the aspirants have to take up the advanced nursing practice. During their career span, they work with the anesthesiology team and often operate unsupervised. Also, most people confuse CRNAs with the anesthesiologists, while both are separate fields.
What is the Job Role of a CRNA in the U.S.?
The job of CRNAs is to administer any type of anesthesia, whether it is local or general. They can also start IV lines and deliver spinal anesthesia. Unlike anesthesiologists, the work of a CRNA extends far beyond the operation or procedure. His or her responsibility continues until the recovery of the patient or/and until the condition of the patient is stable. After becoming a CRNA, they work in the hospital operating rooms (O.R.s), emergency rooms, ICUs, etc. Their working shift starts from 6 am till 6 in the evening.
Responsibilities of a CRNA
After becoming a CRNA in the U.S., there are a set of responsibilities to follow:-
To access how the patient responds to anesthesia
Identify side effects of anesthesia like allergies
Educating patients about the purpose of anesthesia
CRNA Education: What to Study to Become One
To become a CRNA in the U.S., the least degree required is a bachelor’s degree. The degree may not be in nursing. Individuals who take courses in biology, chemistry, and medical science qualify to become a CRNA. But, at the start of the 1990s, all applicants for CRNA had to do work experience as a nurse of three years after earning a bachelor’s degree. Also, please note that you can do all these after getting a nurse’s license. The final step is the certification process for a CRNA. That is, passing the National Certification Examination for nurse anesthetists.
Further, put stress on the practice of a nurse anesthetist on the state’s nursing board. Depending on the location, anyone who wishes to become a CRNA must meet any other requirements made by the particular state. Also, with the advent of time, CRNAs need to earn a DNP or Doctorate of Nursing Practice.
The requirements for becoming a CRNA may differ from state to state. In Canada, for example, there is no recognized job of a certified anesthetist since there are no preparatory programs. The administration of anesthesia during the procedure is only carried out by physicians who specialize in this field. In other words, there is no training for this qualification in Canada.
How Long Does it Take to Become a CRNA?
The total time taken in completing an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program is about 24 to 51 months. To find the best schools to pursue a degree in becoming a CRNA in the U.S., check the ten best available here.
Where to Find CRNAs in the U.S.?
Other than seeking a job in hospitals, these professionals do independent practices and work with the anesthesia group. You can find these specialists in rural areas, wherein their roles are equal to that of an anesthesiologist. In the United States, they play an integral role in the military field. After becoming a CRNA in the U.S., they can find many job roles in the healthcare setting. Some of the job roles they can perform includes zones such as:-
Mobile surgery centers
Nursing research center
U.S. military medical facilities
Meanwhile experienced CRNAs are in their senior years, they often work as mentors and opt to teach in schools and some colleges. Also, one can take up more advanced careers in the medical field. To know more, you can know how to become a physical therapist in the U.S.
CRNA Salary: How Much Does a CRNA Earn in the U.S.?
To become a certified anesthetist is not easy, more particularly in the case that the future need for the profession. Still, the reason why many people are still attracted to the job is due to good payment. A qualified anesthetist is one of the most lucrative jobs in the health care sector. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average a CRNA earns $167, 950 (annual salary). As per another report, the highest annual wages of people becoming a CRNA in the U.S. cities include:-
Montana – $246,370
California – $212,210
Iowa – $209,130
Oregon – $205,730
Wisconsin – $204,820