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Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) provide the miracle of pain free surgery for patients the world over every minute of every day.   These highly specialized nurses practice in hospitals and doctor's offices.  More than half of the time, a CRNA is the primary provider of anesthesia and fully responsible for the patient's anesthetic during procedures.  For expectant mothers and the military, CRNAs almost exclusively provide this service.

A CRNA selects the appropriate method and dosage of anesthesia for the patient, prepares them for the anesthesia, administers the anesthesia, and then monitors the patient during the procedure and makes adjustments as necessary for their comfort and safety.  CRNAs also help consult with other nursing staff and medical teams, perform administrative duties associated with their practice, and some may be involved with research in the field or assisting with research in other areas of medicine where anesthesia is necessary.  Some CRNAs work regular hours during the standard work week, while others may work long, swing, holiday, or on-call shifts.

CRNA Qualifications, Training, and Education

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, to become a CRNA you will first need to get your Bachelor's of Science in Nursing and become a Registered Nurse (RN).  After this, at least one year of clinical nursing experience is desired before you go on to pursue a graduate degree from a nurse anesthetist program.  These master's degree programs are generally two to three years in length and include hands-on training in hospitals or other facilities.  Finally, you will need to become certified as a CRNA by passing your national certification boards. 

CRNA Job Outlook

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statics, advanced practice nurses like CRNAs are in high demand, and the field will continue to grow.  These highly educated and specialized nurses are very valuable to hospitals and doctors alike.  The median income for all registered nurses is more than $62,000.  The top ten percent, where many advanced practice nurses may be, made more than $90,000 (according to BLS.gov).

Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Schools

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