The anesthesiologist nurse has a critical role in most surgical procedures performed today. The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist (CRNA) is a highly trained registered nurse who specializes in administering all types of anesthesia. The nurse anesthetist will normally consult with the doctor and or other health professionals regarding the appropriate anesthesia for the patient. This advanced nursing specialist will then administer the anesthesia during the surgical procedure, and monitor the patient’s vital signs during the procedure and in the recovery room. The anesthesiologist nurse job outlook is bright even in a slow economy, and the demand continues to grow for CRNAs.
Anesthesiologist Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
The nurse anesthesiologist is vital in surgery or any procedure which requires anesthesia such as childbirth, dental procedures, and diagnostic procedures such as a colonoscopy or a CT scan on a small child.
The nurse anesthetist will consult with the attending physician and then determine the best anesthesia for the patient’s age, and physical condition. This professional will normally meet with the patient and describe the type of anesthetic as well as assess their physical condition.
The CRNA will administer the appropriate type and amount of anesthetic to assure patient comfort during the procedure and continually monitor their condition during the procedure. The nurse anesthetist will follow the patient’s progress during post procedure recovery.
The Nurse Anesthesiologist administers anesthesia as a practice of nursing. They are permitted to administer anesthesia of all types including epidural, spinal, general sedation, local anesthesia and peripheral anesthesia under the direction of the attending or collaborating physician.
How to Become an Anesthesiologist Nurse
Preparation for a career in nursing and becoming a nurse anesthesiologist can begin early in high school with the student focusing upon chemistry and biology courses, or the nurse may choose to change focuses later in their career. An LVN or LPN can choose a leveling program to RN which will allow them credit for schooling already completed. A new student will need to choose a school that offers a four year nursing program. A high school diploma is required for entry into any nursing program. Successful completion of a college entrance examination is also required. Nursing students who successfully complete the four year program and receive their RN license will then enroll in a Master level program for anesthesiologist nurses. These master level programs typically require two to three years to complete.
The educational requirements for the nurse anesthetist are rigorous because the patient’s well being during a surgical procedure is literally in this professional’s hands:
Anesthesiologist Nurse Education Requirements, Certification and Schooling Programs
• Achieve a Bachelor of Science nursing degree in 4 years of nursing school.
• Pass the state board for registered nurses and hold a valid registered nurse license.
• Have one year experience in an acute care setting such as ICU, NICU, trauma units, or post operative recovery.
• Attend a 2 year Master Degree program in nursing anesthesiology. These programs include clinical as well as classroom instruction.
• Pass the Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist examination. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) recommends certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) as it lends credibility and expert status to anesthesia professionals. Certifications for the field are managed by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). In order to sit for the exam, candidates must complete a nurse anesthesia program that is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs within two years prior to the exam. Three hours are allowed to take the exam, consisting of a mix of 100 to 170 multiple choice questions and mathematical calculations. Nurses must be certified to work as an anesthesiologist nurse.
Positions in Master programs for nurse anesthetists are limited. The programs at the most prestigious schools are meticulous. Competition for the limited openings at these schools may be very intense. Chemistry, pharmacology, and advanced courses in anatomy are part of all of these program’s curriculums.
Anesthesiologist Nurse, Salary and Career Outlook
Those nurses successfully trained in anesthesiology nursing fit well into today’s movement toward maintaining quality health care and making it more affordable. To date, no state requires an anesthesiologist to administer anesthetics and although the nurse anesthesiologist is well paid they are more cost effective than an Anesthesiologist. The nurse anesthetist may expect to see an increase in jobs in rural settings as well as inner cites. Private clinics and outpatient cosmetic surgery clinics also employ nurse anesthetists.
Job growth for nurses is predicted to be around 21% to 35% until 2020. Advanced nursing specialists such as the nurse anesthetist can expect to see an equivalent increase in demand for their services. So in the near and long-term, job security for those in anesthesiologist nurse careers should be very promising.
The CRNA’s salary is commensurate with their training and most earn at least twice the national average for a Registered Nurse. Nationwide the average salary of a CRNA is around $150,000. Salaries for the Nurse Anesthesiologist will vary with geographical locations as well as employment settings.