Nurse Anesthesiologist
Job Description

Nurse anesthetist administering oxygen to a patient.  Nurse anesthetists perform many of the same tasks as an anesthesiologist.

Nurse anesthetist administering oxygen to a patient.  Nurse anesthetists perform many of the same tasks as an anesthesiologist.

The job description of a Nurse Anesthesiologist encompasses what is known as advanced practice nursing. A Nurse Anesthesiologist or Nurse Anesthetist is a Registered Nurse with advanced training in administering anesthesia. Similar in practice to the anesthesiologist the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or CRNA provides anesthesia and pain management services. They frequently work in rural hospitals and clinics but are also widespread in urban medical practices.

The official title is Nurse Anesthetist. But, in common usage most people refer to the CRNA as a Nurse Anesthesiologist. The reason for this is that titles ending in ology are usually referring to doctors in that particular field. A CRNA is not a doctor of anesthesia. They are an advanced practice nurse.

CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities

Working Environment

Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthesiologists work in operating rooms, clinics and outpatient settings. The environment is indoors, well light and comfortable. Operating rooms are usually kept at slightly cooler temperatures. working hours may involve working 12 hours or longer at times. These specialists are frequently on call and may experience irregular hours and shifts. A work week longer than 40 hours is common.

Training and Qualifications to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

The following conditions must all be met in order to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist:

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or other appropriate baccalaureate degree.
A current license as a registered nurse.
At least one year of experience as a registered nurse in an acute care setting.
Graduation with a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program.

Licensing and Credentialing

All 50 states and U.S. Territories require licensure as a CRNA. Graduation from an accredited educational program and successfully passing a certification exam are required to be licensed.

Significant Points for the Nurse Anesthetist Job Description

CRNA's provide almost 100% of the anesthesia services in rural areas

Long hours and being on call for emergency surgeries are an expected part of being a CRNA

Earnings are higher than average for a CRNA vs. other advanced practice nurses

Some states require that CRNA's be supervised by anesthesiology physicians

Career Progression

Some potential for administrative advancement exists in larger hospitals or group practices. The role of the CRNA is not one that provides for advancement in the traditional sense. Opportunities to open a private practice or to go into consulting are available.

Resources for Nurse Anesthetist Job Description:

Nurse Anesthetists Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

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