Nurse Anesthetist Training

Do you want to take your registered nursing career to the next level? Find out how to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) are the chief providers of anesthesia in provincial areas and communities that are supplied insufficient service especially when it comes to health services. Each year, these professionals manage the needs for anesthesia of millions of people. There is a growing need for certified registered nurse anesthetists in light of the rise of the aging population as well as the increase in outpatient clinics and other nontraditional medical settings.

Nurse anesthetists work alongside surgeons and other physicians, and anesthesiologists in order to provide anesthesia to patients in medical and surgical procedures. They are tasked with the care of the patient prior to, during, and following an operation. Their duties can include evaluating the patient, preparing the patient to receive anesthesia, administering the anesthesia, maintaining the anesthesia to ensure appropriate sedation and pain management, and supervising the patient’s recovery from anesthesia and providing any of the patient’s needs following the medical or surgical procedure.

How to Become a Certified Nurse Anesthetist

A person cannot become a nurse anesthetist straight out of nursing school. After completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program, the graduates must then obtain state license as a registered nurse. To do this, the nursing graduate must pass the state nursing board administered examination.

The next step is for registered nurses to gain the necessary experience, typically one year or more, in a clinical setting, such as in a critical care or intensive care unit, as this is generally required by nurse anesthetist master’s degree programs. The master’s degree program in nurse anesthesia usually takes between 26 and 30 months to complete. The program consists of both classroom instruction and clinical experience where students learn about anesthesia equipment and management. Common course topics include anesthesia pharmacology, anesthesia pathophysiology, anesthesia biochemistry, geriatric anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, and pain management. Students must complete supervised clinical experience in a variety of medical situations involving anesthesia.

Students must ensure that they are entering a nurse anesthesia educational program that has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) or its predecessor. Upon completion of the program, graduates must then pass a national certification exam to obtain the CRNA designation. In addition, they must complete at least 40 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain the designation.

Important Qualities for a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Detail Oriented – It is imperative for certified registered nurse anesthetists to administer and maintain anesthesia properly to ensure appropriate sedation and pain management.

Communication Skills – Nurse anesthetists must be able to effectively communicate with patients especially when assessing them prior to medical or surgical procedures and communicate their observations to other healthcare professionals.

Critical Thinking ¬– CRNAs must be able to quickly assess any changes in a patient’s health and quickly determine the most appropriate course of action, including consulting with another healthcare professional, if needed.

Compassionate – Patients under the care of a CRNA are either in pain or suffering from emotional distress, and he or she should be patient, caring and sympathetic when treating them.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Licenses, Certifications and Registrations

Aside from maintaining a valid registered nurse license, those who wish to become a nurse anesthetist must pass the National Certification Examination offered by the National Board Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

CNRAs must also complete 40 hours of approved continuing education in order to maintain their CRNA designation. In some states, specialty licensure status must also be obtained by CRNAs.