Anesthetist Nurse Education
An anesthetist nurse is the nurse that is responsible for providing anesthesia during a surgical procedure. Being a nurse anesthetist is one of the most sought after fields in the nursing world. The field has relatively low turnover and offers a stability that cannot be found in other divisions of nursing. They are also some of the highest paid nursing professionals. There are approximately 40,000 anesthetist nurses in the United States who are responsible for the anesthesia care to millions of patients who need to be sedated for medical care each year. In order to become a nurse anesthetist more education is needed beyond what is required of a traditional registered nurse.
For someone who wants to become an anesthetist nurse, they must first receive their bachelor’s degree in nursing to become a registered nurse. The coursework to become a registered nurse focuses on sciences like biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology along with specific aspects of nursing like pharmacology, diseases, nursing ethics and nursing practice. After finishing the bachelor’s degree, nurses must then go on to finish advanced classes in a nurse anesthesia education program or to get a master’s degree specifically to become a nurse anesthetist.
The advanced education and master’s degree courses take between two to three years to complete. The course work focus on both classroom learning and hands-on clinical experience. The curriculum for the classes focus on a variety of aspects of health care like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, biochemistry, chemistry, biology and physics and how all of these interact with and are affected by anesthesia. The hands-on clinic portion of the education teaches students about the different techniques to administer anesthesia, the different types of anesthesia and how it is used and relates to a variety of health practices like surgery, obstetrics and diagnostic testing.
After completing the advanced nursing classes or the master’s degree program to become a nurse anesthetist and receiving the degree or completion certificate, the student must then pass a licensing exam to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. There may be a change in the requirements to become a nurse anesthetist in the future. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is endorsing a change that will alter the entry level education requirements for nurse anesthetists. The difference would require that new nurse anesthetists have a have a Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Nursing Anesthesia Practice to operate in the field. This is expected to take place by 2015 and would not affect those already working in the field.