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Anesthesia Nursing

Nurse Anesthetists are nurses who have completed additional education and certification in order to specialize in administering anesthesia. These individuals must earn a graduate level degree and are considered to be advanced practice nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, most Nurse Anesthetists are employed by physicians' offices, though they are also employed by a variety of other organizations. In 2012, the BLS estimated that around 34,180 CRNAs were employed nationally.

Education Requirements

In order to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), one must first become a registered nurse. Most education programs will require at least one year of acute care experience. After fulfilling this requirement, he or she must go on to earn at least a master's degree in Nursing Anesthesia. Though many MSN programs will require students to enter with a BSN, it may be possible to find an RN to MSN program that specializes in this area of study. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), education programs to prepare Nurse Anesthetists range from 24 to 36 months in length and are made up of both classroom and clinical training. After completing a specialized education program, one must then pass the national certification exam.

Necessary Certification

In order to become a CRNA, one must pass the National Certification Exam (NCE), which is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

Expectations of Anesthesia Nurses

CRNAs provide a large percentage of the anesthesia-related services administered in the United States. These services include the trauma stabilization and surgical and obstetrical anesthetics. These types of nurses are responsible for providing anesthesia in collaboration with qualified healthcare professionals such as podiatrists, dentists, anesthesiologists and surgeons. CRNAs work in every type of setting in which anesthesia is involved. This includes obstetrical delivery rooms, traditional hospital surgical suites, offices of pain management specialists, ambulatory surgical centers and critical access hospitals. These nurses are experts in the field of anesthetics.

Average Salary

Nurse Anesthetists are highly paid professionals. A report published by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that the median annual salary for a CRNA is about $148,000.

  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists: This professional association represents over 42,000 CRNAs as well as students who are studying nurse anesthesia. This site provides you with information on the career of a nurse anesthetist and how you can become a member of the AANA and related organizations.
  • American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses: This is a link that directs you to the official site for the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses. This site serves nurses that practice in all areas of preanesthesia and postanesthesia care, pain management and ambulatory surgery.
  • Nurse Anesthesia Career Overview: This is a link to in-depth information from the Mayo Clinic including career opportunities, earning potential, professional organizations and two programs offered: Master of Nurse Anesthesia and the Nurse Anesthesia Internship program.
  • Anesthesia Nursing Program: This links to in-depth information from the University of Iowa’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program. This specific portion of the program is the anesthesia nursing specialization and provides you with information on what to expect from this type of advanced nursing program.
  • American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification: This links to the official site of the American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification. This site offers a wealth of information on CPAN and CAPA certification, recertification, news, events and resources in the nursing industry.
  • International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists: This site provides you with a wealth of information on the anesthetists’ specialization of nursing at an international level. This site shows a list of nursing programs that are officially recognized by the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists.
  • Nurse Anesthesia: This link provides you with nursing program information at the graduate level from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.
  • School of Nurse Anesthesia: This is the home page of the School of Nurse anesthesia at TCU Harris College. From this page you can navigate to find out more information on the master’s degree program and the doctorate program that this school offers. 
  • US Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing: This links to the main page of the graduate program that is offered by the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. This provides you with information on the program including clinical sites, expected curriculum you will be required to complete and information on recent graduates.